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‘Other cricketers were fast-tracked’ – Arafat highlights favouritism in Pakistan cricket

by Wisden Staff 2-minute read

Yasir Arafat, the former Pakistan all-rounder, has opened up on favouritism in Pakistan cricket, claiming “other cricketers were fast-tracked based on someone’s liking” ahead of him.

Arafat made his ODI debut for Pakistan as a 17-year-old in 2000, alongside Younis Khan, but had to wait another year for his next ODI appearance, which was followed by a four-year wait for a third. Recalling his debut, Arafat said he felt unwelcomed in the team because of the indifferent behaviour of the senior Pakistan players.

“When I made my debut in 2000, we had come after playing the Under-19 World Cup in Sri Lanka” he told former Pakistan wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal on his YouTube channel. “The Pakistan senior team had come back from Australia at the time and there were a lot of changes being made. They had dropped 5-6 players due to the bad performance.

“Even the captaincy, I think, Wasim Akram was doing it (Saeed Anwar was the captain). In that match Younis Khan and another batsman Imran Abbas also made their debuts. The atmosphere was such, and the senior players had such an attitude that you would feel that you are unwelcome in the team.

“It felt like an alien atmosphere where, if you need to perform, you needed to do it all by yourself and you won’t get any support at all.”

Arafat went on to reveal that despite the fact that his career coincided with Abdul Razzaq and Azahar Mahmood’s, there were times he felt he was being sidelined in favour of players who didn’t deserve the call-up.

“As far as Pakistan cricket is concerned,” he said, “we haven’t had better all-rounders than Abdul Razzaq and Azhar Mahmood. But even when they were not there, other cricketers were fast-tracked based on someone’s liking, someone who had played two matches of first-class cricket or not played at all. I didn’t understand why I was not in their good books.”

Arafat, in a 12-year long international career, played three Tests, 11 ODIs and 13 T20Is for Pakistan.

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