In his latest exclusive blog for PakPassion.net, Pakistan all-rounder Yasir Arafat writes about his disappointment at not being picked in the Pakistan Super League (PSL) draft, his views on the future of the PSL, absence of Pakistan players at the Big Bash League (BBL) and improvements needed at the Pakistan domestic level.
By Yasir Arafat (24th December, 2015)
Disappointment at not being picked for a Pakistan Super League (PSL) team
This was a massive let down and disappointment for me as I have been playing this format of cricket for the last ten years or so with many teams; I have literally played in all the top leagues around the globe. I also happen to be one of the highest wicket-takers in the Tweny20 format. What hurts most is that amongst the ninety or so players picked by different franchises, I do not have a place in any team in a tournament which is being played in my home country.
It is amazing that for someone who is invited to play by foreign leagues in different countries, I am ignored by organizers in my own country. I find that incredible to say the least and I cannot imagine anything more shocking for a player like myself. I could almost understand this if I was an inexperienced domestic player making my way into cricket but here I am, a Twenty20 specialist with a proven record and performances to match, yet I cannot find a place in this league.
I have no objections nor do I have any misgivings about being placed in the Platinum category as that was wholly chosen by the PCB. The really puzzling part is this. We know that world renowned coaches such as Justin Langer (BBL) were quite happy and pleased to have me on-board for their teams without any hesitation. So can we assume that they didn’t know what they were doing as PSL seem to have a different view of my skill sets! I really have no clue and I have been given no reasons as to why a player of my calibre was ignored for a local league.
Like I said this is a shock to the system and this decision defies logic. To further add insult to injury, my name is not even in the list of supplementary players and those chosen in this category may well be playing in the Masters Champions League (MCL) which will defeat the whole purpose of that category.
Future success of the PSL
Regardless of how things have gone for me in the draft, I wish the organizers of the tournament the very best and pray for its success as it will bring great benefits for my country. I would like to mention Salman Sarwar Butt and his team for their hard work and dedication to make this a success. Although things haven’t gone in my favour yet the fact remains that the whole draft process was very well organized and the credit goes to the PSL organizers.
Apart from the obvious benefits of projecting a positive image of Pakistan, this tournament will be a great boost for Pakistan’s domestic players. Our younger players have been deprived of playing in front of big crowds and in high profile tournaments so this will be a great opportunity to gain valuable experience by playing in front of crowds and also alongside some top names in international cricket. From personal experience of playing in foreign leagues, I can confidently say that the players will learn a lot about how to play cricket under pressure and at the highest standards possible. The financial aspect of playing in such leagues can also not be ignored and the domestic players will also gain significantly which is pleasing to know.
Surprised to see no Pakistan participation at the Big Bash League (BBL)
It is indeed surprising to see no Pakistan players in the BBL this year. In the past two years, Shoaib Malik and I are the only two Pakistanis to have played in the BBL. In fact my team, Perth Scorchers, won the tournament in both those seasons. I have also represented the Scorchers in the Champions League in India as well. This time, I received a detailed and comprehensive email from Justin Langer explaining how due to change in the team structure with Adam Voges, Mitch Marsh and Shaun Marsh not available for the team, there was more of a need for batsmen and therefore they regretted to inform me that I would not be needed in this edition of the BBL.
Masters Champions League (MCL) offer ignored in favour of possible participation in the PSL
I was a very strong candidate with significant financial rewards for inclusion in the MCL. This was obviously due to my track record and the fact that I am a current player but I chose to forego that offer in favour of the PSL which was something I felt really proud of as it was a league which belongs to my country. However, given what has happened now, I will re-consider and discuss with my representative and MCL organizers to see if there is still an opportunity there.
Need to restructure at the domestic level for improvements in Pakistan’s ODI fortunes
There is a tremendous need to restructure our domestic cricket. The gulf in standards between domestic and international cricket is rather huge and this I can vouch for based upon my international experience as well due to playing domestic cricket in Pakistan where I have also captained the Rawalpindi side in the Quaid-e-Azam trophy. For a start the grounds need massive improvement as do the quality of pitches, with the type of ball being used being another factor. An important issue is that in the domestic Twenty20 tournament, players get about four to five games as compared to in England where this number is closer to sixteen which is a massive difference. It stands to reason that the more competitive cricket is played, the better quality of players will emerge. The same is true for One-Day games where as a player you get to play just four to five games. Again contrast that with the English system and you will note that a player can expect to play between eight to ten games, excluding semi-final and final matches. Apart from that there is an obvious need to improve the financial rewards for the domestic players.