LAHORE       -         Bangladesh cricket team will arrive here today (Wednesday) after a gap of almost 12 years to play three T20Is on January 24, 25 and 27 at the Gaddafi Stadium.

These two sides featured in the first and only T20I on Pakistani soil in April 2008, which the hosts, captained by Shoaib Malik, won by 102 runs. Their most recent fixture was in 2016 during the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2016 in India in which Pakistan, captained by Shahid Afrid, beat Bangladesh by 55 runs. In the 10 matches between the two sides in the shortest format, Pakistan have come out victorious eight times, while Bangladesh’s both the victories came at home in 2014-15 and 2015-16 by seven and five wickets, respectively.

The Friday’s contest will mark the eleventh T20I between Pakistan and Bangladesh, and their nations will be led by Babar Azam, top-ranked T20I batsman, and Mahmudullah.

Ranjan Madugalle, one of the most respected and senior most member of the Elite Panel of ICC match referees, has been appointed by the game’s governing body as match referee for the three T20Is between Pakistan and Bangladesh here at Gaddafi Stadium. The umpiring responsibilities will be shared between the local umpires. The PCB has appointed Ahsan Raza and Shozab Raza as on-field umpires, Ahmed Shahab as third umpire and Tariq Rasheed as fourth umpire for the three matches.

Meanwhile, Haris Rauf sits with Hasan Ali for an exclusive chat. Haris has had a meteoric rise since he appeared in Lahore Qalandars’ trials in Gujranwala two years ago. The right-arm pacer has since gained admirers wherever he has played. He recently made headlines during his stint in the Big Bash League, while turning out for Melbourne Stars, and used the opportunity to stake a claim in the Pakistan national men’s team.

“With the T20 World Cup later this year in Australia, I wanted to put up impressive performances and prove myself in the BBL as I knew they will get me selected in the national side,” Haris told Hasan Ali in an interview after joining the Pakistan team’s camp.

He rose to prominence for delivering the fastest ball in those trials. Because of his ability to touch 150kmph mark, Haris has been given a nickname of “150” by his teammates. “Nobody calls me Haris in the Northern team as everyone refers to me as 150 and I even write 150 in my autographs.”

Haris lighted up the ongoing BBL with probing spells which not only brought his quick pace in the limelight, but also his ability to use variations at crucial junctures of a match something that his hat-trick against Sydney Thunder encapsulated. He picked up first two wickets on the balls which stayed in mid-120kmphs before unleashing a 145kmph delivery that thudded on Daniel Sams pads to trap him LBW.

For his extraordinary run in the BBL, Haris earned praises of legendary cricketers, including Waqar Younis. “Waqar bhai was in touch with me and he used to encourage me to work hard,” Haris said. “It is always heartening to hear legendary players praise your performances and it gives you more confidence in your abilities. “I had that thought in my mind that if I continue to perform I might get selected for the national side. I knew that I had to bowl above 140kmph to get selected for the Pakistan side as quick bowlers get the recognition.”

In Dale Steyn, Haris had an idol in the Melbourne Stars camp and he made the most of his presence by spending time with him during net sessions. “I was extremely delighted to know that I was going to play with Dale Steyn as he is my idol,” he said. “Sharing the dressing room with him helped me a great deal as I got to work on my outswing with him. We had a couple of net sessions in which he taught me how to control it.”