Pakistan head coach and chief selector Misbah-ul-Haq has said that time is running out for young pace bowler Haris Rauf to join the national team in England in time for the Test and T20 series.
Rauf, who made a surprise Pakistan debut in the T20 series against Bangladesh at home early this year, has consistently tested positive in his Covid-19 tests.
In the latest test carried out last week, he again tested positive and the Pakistan Cricket Board advised him to return to his home from the bio-secure environment created for players at a five-star hotel in Lahore.
Haris had been staying at the hotel for the last two weeks after he repeatedly tested positive.
Named in the 29-member squad for the England tour, Haris is now most likely to miss out on his opportunity after the PCB announced that experienced southpaw pacer Muhammad Aamir will be joining the squad in England.
The board said in a statement on Monday that Aamir and a second masseur Imran had undergone their first Covid-19 tests in Lahore and if a second test also came negative, they would be flying out to England.
Aamir was not named in the original squad after he opted out of the tour as his wife was expecting their second child.
His wife gave birth to a baby girl last week and Aamir informed the board he was now ready to join the team.
Misbah made it clear that he had consulted with the captains and fellow selectors before deciding to include Aamir in the squad.
“Once Aamir made himself available for the series we informed the board that we would like him to join the squad and prepare for the matches,” Misbah said.
Aamir had retired from Test cricket last year but is available for white ball formats.
Misbah said they had selected Haris Rauf because they wanted to give him more exposure at the top level but unfortunately his positive tests had hampered all such plans.
“It seems as if it is getting difficult day by day for Haris to be able to join the team in England,” he said.
The PCB said that wicketkeeper-batsman Rohail Nazir would be released from the squad once Aamir joins them.
“Rohail was included as a replacement after some players didn’t clear the Covid tests earlier on but the good thing is that he has learnt a lot and got exposure remaining with the team in England,” Misbah said.
He pointed out that Rohail was being released since Pakistan squad already included two keeper-batsmen in Muhammad Rizwan and Sarfaraz Ahmed.