30 year old Yasir Arafat has arrived at Lancashire for his stint in the Friends Life T20 competition in high spirits after taking career best T20 international figures of 3 for 18 for Pakistan against Sri Lanka at Hambantota last month
This was remarkably only Arafat’s eighth appearance for Pakistan in the twenty over format and he helped the Pakistanis to a 33 run victory over the hosts.
Hailing from the city of Rawalpindi which has produced cricketers of the calibre of Shoaib Akhtar, Mohammad Akram and Azhar Mahmood, Arafat represented Pakistan at Under 15 level before making his international debut at the age of 17 in 2000 in a one day international in Karachi against Sri Lanka.
Arafat is well known on the English county circuit having had spells at Scotland in 2004 and 2005. He then signed for Sussex in 2006 helping them to the double of the County Championship and C&G Trophy and re-signed for them for the 2009 and 2010 seasons. He also had a spell at Kent for the 2007 season and last season played for Surrey.
A versatile player, Arafat has also featured in New Zealand’s domestic T20 competition as well as the recently concluded inaugural edition of Bangladesh Premier League. The right arm medium fast bowler has the ability to swing the new ball but is equally effective in the use of reverse swing in the death overs. Apart from subtle changes of pace, he can also be relied upon to hit a few lusty blows in the lower order.
Arafat’s international chances have been limited due to the intense competition for places in the pace bowling department for Pakistan and due to some untimely injuries. Despite the lack of international opportunities he’s focussed on helping Lancashire better last season’s semi-final exit in the FLt20 competition and to cement a place in Pakistan’s T20 squad for this year’s World Cup.
“I’m delighted at signing for such a famous team such as Lancashire. They have a history of winning tournaments and I hope I can perform well for them and help them do well in the Friends Life t20 competition this season. I’ve always enjoyed playing in England, it’s intense and well organised cricket and I can’t wait to wear the red of Lancashire” stated Arafat.
A hard working and unassuming character, Arafat added that the opportunity to work with Peter Moores and being part of the Lancashire squad was an essential for his personal development.
“Lancashire is a strong all round side with some very experienced cricketers as well as some promising youngsters and has a very good coach in Peter Moores. This opportunity is a fantastic one and I had no hesitation in signing for Lancashire. It also enables me to continue to show the Pakistani selectors what I am capable of.”
Photo: Nigel French EMPICS Sport