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‘His fitness is much improved’ – Babar Azam backs Haris Rauf to succeed after return from injury

‘His fitness is much improved’ – Babar Azam backs Haris Rauf to succeed after return from injury

Haris-Rauf. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Babar Azam lauded Haris Rauf fitness standards after returning from a shoulder injury, which kept him out of action for over two months. The experienced pacer suffered the injury while playing for Lahore Qalandars in the Pakistan Super League (PSL) earlier this year.

Last year, Rauf had a disappointing ODI World Cup 2023 campaign, where he conceded runs at an economy rate of 6.74. Ahead of PSL 2024, his central contract was terminated following a probe into his refusal to join Pakistan’s Test squad for the tour of Australia in December-January. The contract was restored subsequently but the good news was shortly followed by the aforementioned shoulder injury.

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Pakistan’s T20 captain Babar acknowledged that Rauf will be under pressure when he returns to competitive cricket during the series against Ireland and England this month. However, the talismanic batter said that he was amazed by Rauf’s much-improved fitness level and asserted that the 30-year-old is determined to succeed on his comeback.

“Haris Rauf’s fitness is much improved; I wasn’t expecting him to recover so fast. He’s positive about his involvement in the tournament and very driven to succeed. There’s pressure on him because there’s been a lot of talk about him, but I think he’ll come back strong. When you come back from a rest, mentally, physically, you can create quite an impact,” Babar said in a press-conference.

The Men in Green recently played a five-match T20I series at home against a second-string New Zealand side. This was Babar’s comeback series as captain of the Asian giants after he had stepped down from the role following the ODI World Cup 2023 debacle. The series versus the Blackcaps ended in a 2-2 stalemate.

Also Read: Babar Azam reposes faith in Gary Kirsten to change Pakistan’s cricket fortunes

Pakistan have seven more T20Is to play ahead of the impending T20 World Cup, which is set to begin on June 2. The 2009 champions will play three T20Is against Ireland on May 10, 12, and 14 before travelling to England to four T20Is on May 22, 25, 28, and 30. Their first match in the marquee event is against co-hosts USA on June 6 in Dallas.

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