Rauf giving Stars BBL plenty to ponder

Adrian Warren
Haris Rauf has proved to be a decent injury-replacement signing by Melbourne Stars

He's taking the BBL by storm, but emerging Pakistan pace sensation Haris Rauf faces a battle to keep holding down a place in the powerful Melbourne Stars line-up.

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.

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 Stars' five games.

His wickets have come at a paltry average of 7.1 and he boasts a frugal economy rate of 5.91 runs per over.

Six of his ten victims have been bowled and he doesn't go easy on his Stars teammates.

"It's been uncomfortable facing Haris in the nets," batsman Nick Larkin said.

"He's pretty sharp and he doesn''t mind them sending them in around your thigh and your ribs and not too many guys like facing him."

The enthusiastic speedster caused a stir on social media on Thursday with a throat-slashing wicket-taking celebration..

"I didn't see it, but he's a passionate guy," Larkin said.

"It wouldn't surprise me if he was jumping around and carrying on.

"But he's excited when he's taking wickets and I think he's really grateful for the opportunity to be playing in the BBL."

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.