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Australia v Pakistan 2023/24

The ‘last-moment’ Wahab Riaz break that hit Pakistan before their last Test tour of Australia

Wahab Riaz
by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

Pakistan fast bowler Haris Rauf has backed out of the upcoming Test tour to Australia, inviting criticism from chief selector Wahab Riaz. Comparisons have been made to Riaz doing something similar before Pakistan’s previous Australian Test tour.

Pakistan announced their squad for a three-match Test series in Australia which starts in mid-December. Riaz, the newly appointed chief selector, said in a press conference today (November 20), that they reached out to Haris Rauf to encourage his participation in the Test tour, an offer which he first accepted then backed out of.

Rauf expressed concerns regarding his fitness and workload after a gruelling World Cup campaign and pulled out of the Test series after initially having agreed to play. Riaz was not amused with Rauf’s decision and said that being a centrally contracted player, it is his duty to make sacrifices and serve Pakistan.


Four years back, when Pakistan last travelled to Australia for a Test series, a similar incident had happened where Riaz, now chief selector, was in Rauf’s position.

Pakistan were blanked 2-0 in a one-sided series where Australia won both matches by an innings. Comprising a highly inexperienced fast bowling attack of Shaheen Afridi, Naseem Shah, Imran Khan, Mohammad Musa, and Mohammad Abbas, Pakistan struggled to have any impact with the ball on the hard and true Australian wickets.

Waqar Younis, who was the chief selector of the Pakistan team at that point, later expressed his disappointment with Riaz and Mohammad Amir, two experienced left-arm seamers who according to him were in plans for the Australia Test series had pulled out.

Amir had announced his retirement from Test cricket in July 2019 while Riaz took an indefinite break from Test cricket a couple of months before the Australia series.

“Just before the series against Australia, they ditched us and we had the only choice to pick youngsters,” Younis said in a press conference in April 2020. “We cannot control players’ choice on what they want to play but then there should be a mechanism so we all are on board. It never should be like players leaving at the last moment and not taking anyone in the loop or giving enough time for back-up.”

Riaz never played Test cricket for Pakistan again. He recently announced his retirement from international cricket and has been appointed as the chief selector in a new regime for Pakistan post the 2023 World Cup.

Pakistan’s 2023-24 Test tour of Australia starts on December 14 in Perth.

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