Test Match Sofa
Record-breaker Arafat has name trouble at Lancs
By Graham Hardcastle
Yasir Arafat, Lancashire’s specialist overseas Twenty20 signing, has revealed one of the perils of playing 20-over cricket for nine different domestic teams during his career and four in 2012 alone.
“Lancashire is an excellent place with good players and the coaching staff have been brilliant. I’m settling in nicely, although I’m still struggling with the names of all the players, but I’m getting there,” explained the fast bowling all-rounder from Pakistan.
“I have played in Bangladesh, New Zealand and Pakistan this year, so it is very hard. I know Keedy, Chapple and a few of the other guys. Some of the others I just say ‘off-spinner or medium pacer’.”
Despite not knowing his Stephen Moores from his Stephen Parrys and Steven Crofts, Arafat has impressed in a Red Rose shirt, taking eight wickets and becoming the leading wicket-taker in the history of English Twenty20.
The 30-year-old's haul of 3 for 21 in Monday’s win over Durham took him to 99 from 70 outings, leap-frogging him over compatriot Azhar Mahmood.
“I didn’t know I was close to breaking the record," he added. "When I came back to the dressing room Peter Moores told me I was the leading wicket-taker in Twenty20 in England. It is a good feeling. I have played in so many counties and countries, and to be top in England means a great deal to me."
Arafat is also the third most prolific Twenty20 bowler in the world, and he said: “I am third with 159, Alfonso Thomas is second with 163 and Dirk Nannes is top with 179.
"It always helps to start well at a new county because it gives you confidence to go on. We look like the best team in this pool. We have strong games coming up against Yorkshire, and if we win these two games we will have a great chance to go through. We need to win at Headingley on Friday to make a mark and show we are a good team.”
Arafat made his international comeback in a match against Sri Lanka at Hambantota at the start of the month after more than two years out of the reckoning. He took three wickets, and now looks likely to return to Sri Lanka for the ICC World Twenty20 tournament in September.
He added: “My time at Lancashire is a great platform for me to perform on and get back into the Pakistan team as a permanent member. These matches are being shown in Pakistan, so the selectors will be watching how I’m doing.”
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