Haris Rauf has caused a stir in the Big Bash with his controversial throat-slitting wicket celebration.
Performances of 2-20, 5-27 and 3-24 have pushed him up to third on the competition's leading wicket taking list despite playing just three of the ladder-leading Melbourne Stars' five games.
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Originally recruited from Hobart club cricket as cover for injured South African great Dale Steyn, 26-year-old Rauf has proven much more than a fill in.
However his wicket-taking exploits have been somewhat overshadowed by the way he celebrates them.
The Pakistani often makes a throat-slitting gesture after dismissing a batsman, as well as pretending to cut them down with two slashes of a sword.
The celebration is often met with laughter from his teammates, but some on social media aren’t happy.
Former Big Bash presenter Tim Gossage said: “May be time for someone from the Stars to get to Haris Rauf and stop with the throat slitting gesture or have I missed something?”
May be time for someone from the Stars to get to Haris Rauf and stop with the throat slitting gesture or have I missed something?— Tim Gossage 🤓🎙📺 (@TimGossage) January 2, 2020
Rugby league great Darryl Brohman also thought the celebration was a bit much, writing:
“Not sure we need the throat cutting gesture from Harris Rauf everytime he takes a wicket. Clearly a very good bowler but the post wicket antics are over the top.”
Not sure we need the throat cutting gesture from Harris Rauf everytime he takes a wicket. Clearly a very good bowler but the post wicket antics are over the top. Who’s with me?— Darryl Brohman (@therealbigmarn) January 2, 2020
And they weren’t alone.
Disgusting stuff there from Rauf gesturing to cut someone's throat Horrendous, and should fined and suspended @StarsBBL— Michael Smith (@micksmith187) January 2, 2020
What’s with this throat slitting celebration by Rauf ?— Irishaussie (@irishaus) January 2, 2020
Don’t think it’s good.
I think you need to have a word with Haris Rauf The throat slashing action of his wicket celebration is totally inappropriate. You really don’t want kids emulating this kind of behaviour— Laurinda Ottaway (@LaurindaRenee) January 2, 2020
Agree, I could be wrong, but I can’t remember a Aussie bowler making violent gestures after getting a wicket??— Tristam Marshall (@travmarsh8) January 2, 2020
Me. I’m with you Big Marn. It is over the top, not necessary, does nothing for the game and should be stopped.— Darren Cook (@DarrenRC0505) January 2, 2020
Him, and his celebration can get in the bin.— Luke Warm Phelan (@phelanluke1) January 2, 2020
Celebration needs to go, Gossy— Mitchell (@LionTells) January 2, 2020
It’s not a good look!— Marianne (@FreoSiren) January 2, 2020
However there were plenty more who didn’t see any problems with it.
Rauf giving stars plenty to ponder
His wickets have come at a paltry average of 7.1 and he boasts a frugal economy rate of 5.91 runs per over.
Thursday's game was the first in which Steyn and Rauf have played together and the South African's return to fitness means the Stars face a potential selection quandary .
Teams are only allowed to field two imports in a BBL match with Nepalese leggie Sandeep Lamichhane playing four games so far and Steyn and Rauf three each.
Lamichhane was rested from Thursday's game due to an injury, with the aim of returning for Saturday's Melbourne Derby.
Larkin was a big contributor to the Stars' win on Thursday, scoring a fluent 65 off 45 balls, his maiden half century in 11 T20 innings against senior opposition.
Like Rauf, 29-year-old Larkin has had to battle for a spot in the Stars' side this season, having been dismissed for a first-ball duck in his only previous BBL game this season.
"I know I can play at this level and there's plenty of good players around me so it makes me free up and do my best work," Larkin said.