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 Haris Rauf To Face NOC Problem For BBL After His Test Selection Denial

image-lph2cg8wHaris Rauf is a key player for Melbourne Stars

The Big Bash League (BBL) is set to face a potential setback with the delayed participation of Pakistani pacer, Haris Rauf. 

Haris Rauf's BBL participation in doubt amidst PCB's NOC delay

According to sources from ESPNcricinfo, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is expected to hold back the issuance of the No-Objection Certificate (NOC) required for Rauf to join the league, possibly until December 11. This date falls four days after the BBL season begins, with no immediate assurance of the NOC being granted thereafter.

The situation is expected to gain more clarity during Mohammad Hafeez's upcoming press conference in Lahore, ahead of the Pakistan cricket team's departure for Australia. The delay in issuing Rauf's NOC is primarily due to the National T20 Cup in Pakistan, ending on December 10, where Rauf's participation is fully anticipated by the PCB.

This issue arises amid a recent decision by Rauf to withdraw from Pakistan's Test series in Australia during December-January, a move that has drawn public displeasure from Pakistan's chief selector, Wahab Riaz. Riaz's influential role in the NOC issuance process hints at a potential standoff that may not resolve smoothly.

The Melbourne Stars, who have signed Rauf as a marquee player, are likely to face challenges due to this delay. The original plan was for Rauf to miss only the BBL matches coinciding with Pakistan's T20 series in New Zealand in January. However, the prolonged delay could disrupt the Stars' strategy for the season.

Furthermore, Rauf's participation has been a significant marketing focus for the BBL, particularly targeting the South Asian audience in Australia. The Melbourne Stars have even launched unique initiatives like the "House of Rauf" Membership and a dedicated "Haris Rauf Bay" at the MCG.

This ongoing issue with Rauf's NOC also raises concerns regarding the future participation of Pakistan's centrally contracted players in foreign leagues. After recent contractual negotiations between the PCB and the players, it was agreed that players could partake in two foreign leagues annually, subject to PCB's NOC approval.

Meanwhile, as the BBL is scheduled from December 7, 2023, to January 24, 2024, Rauf's potential absence could have significant implications for the league, especially considering his growing popularity and impact on the game.