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Eng vs Pak, 3rd T20I – Haris Rauf on shoulder dislocation – ‘Injury reduction could be blessing in disguise’

Elite athletes may have everything they can and call it quits, but one thing they often lack is time. In Pakistan cricket, no player has ever taken a voluntary break from any form of cricket – except to play cricket elsewhere during a calendar conflict. Haris Rauf knows that better than anyone after he opted out of Pakistan’s Test series in Australia to play the Big Bash, and it paid off with his mid-term contract.
As he worked his way around mending fences with his cricket board, any idea of ​​a voluntary break was a dream. But things took their turn, and a sudden dive during the last match of the PSL’s high-level game caused him to dislocate his shoulder. He will be sidelined for three months, missing the remainder of the PSL, Pakistan’s home series against New Zealand and the away series in Ireland, and even returned to Birmingham on Saturday.

All that downtime, Haris admits, might not have been such a bad thing. “I got injured a few months ago but if you believe in yourself, being laid off can be a blessing,” he said at a press conference ahead of Pakistan’s third T20I against England in Cardiff. “Because you have time to recover and reassess your game plans. I felt good about coming back to cricket. When you play for your country, it makes you very proud.”

His return to Edgbaston was strong, if very brief. He was the designated fast bowler, taking two wickets in 34 in his allotted spell. It included an ill-advised Powerplay over – in Rauf’s weakest phase – which scored 17. Throughout his tenure he has continued with his pace and accuracy, and has walked the ball while picking up two wickets.,

It would not ultimately be enough as Pakistan fell comfortably in the end. “When you lose a game, it hurts, but as a team we are confident,” he said. “We feel like we can beat any opponent on any given day. We’ve done it in the past. When you make mistakes you learn and try not to repeat those mistakes. We’re looking to play better in the next few games and we’re looking to play better in the next few games and do that. Make a comeback.

“Camp is relaxed. We’re having fun. We’re trying to follow our game plans and execute them well. The results haven’t been in our favor lately but if you stick to your plans it can come sometimes.”

Rauf also spoke about the mental and physical struggle of coming back from a long injury, especially as a fast bowler – a topic that Naseem Shah spoke about recently. “It’s hard,” he said. “It’s a struggle when you’re adjusting, and it’s hard when you come back to maintain that speed and accuracy. But if you believe in yourself, it makes things easier. When I was away from the team and I was rehabbing, I had a lot of time to think about my game and work on myself. I’m thankful that I’m back now, and the World Cup is coming .”
Pakistan made sure to get as much practice as possible ahead of the World Cup; by 2024, they will have played 17 T20Is by the end of this series, more than the PSL. It featured high-profile testing, bowling combinations, and a change of captaincy. Not everything went their way, with a 2-1 win in Ireland their only T20I series win since the 2022 World Cup.

Rauf admits that winning the next two games will give Pakistan much-needed confidence, but insists that these games are about more than that. Before the World Cup, if you win a series, it gives you confidence, but even if you lose, you understand the mistakes you made and learn from them,” he said. “This series of matches is difficult, but we will try to win it. Yes, the focus is on the World Cup, which we intend to win to make our country proud.”

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