Exclusive Interview: Yasir Arafat
PakPassion brings you an exclusive interview with Pakistan's Yasir Arafat, a budding fast bowling all-rounder who can crank it up to 90mph and beyond!
PakPassion.Net: Firstly many thanks to Noddy for arranging this and its much appreciated, secondly please pass on our gratitude to Yasir for answering the questions and wish him every success for the future from everybody at PakPassion
Yasir Arafat: Thanks for the good wishes. I hope to come up to your expectations.
PakPassion.Net: Do you really take your batting seriously? We have heard so much about your bowling but can't recall any noticable performances with the bat, are your working on your batting??
Yasir Arafat: I definitely take my batting seriously. I was a member of the Pakistan u-15 team where I batted at No.6, in the same team Kamran was No.8 and Shoiab Malik was No.9. Possibly later on I was perceived to be a bowling all-rounder and never batted down number 7 or 8. I concentrated more on bowling and couldn't do better in batting although in domestic cricket I do have a century and eighteen fifties, considering the lack of focus on batting it's not a bad record. In fact, I'm very near to 3000 runs in first class cricket and I also have 353 first class wickets in 80 odd matches. It looks good enough statistically.
PakPassion.Net: How do you plan on overtaking Shahid Afridi and Abdul Razzaq who are so experienced. You have immense talent, but can you convince selectors?
Yasir Arafat: I would never wish to overtake Shahid Afridi or Abdul Razzak but I would love to follow in their footsteps and contribute alongside both of them, enjoy their game and learn cricketing lessons from them. I would wish them both to continue to deliver great for the country for much longer and bring laurels for Pakistan as usual.
As far as talent goes, this may be the talent and definitely the will and wish of God Almighty that kept me in the running and contention for a long five years in Pakistan Cricket which has abundunt talent around . And I have definitely convinced the respectable selectors repeatedly as this is my 4th comeback into the national team since 2001.
PakPassion.Net: How hard is it to stay motivated while continually being on the fringes but not making the final squad?
Yasir Arafat: I've been on the fringes or going through hope and despair and I've been in and out for such a long period (5 years) now that it hardly looks hard or sour but a routine and challenging and a habit of course.
PakPassion.Net: Do you feel at this point you are ready to establish a permanent spot with the Pakistan team if given a chance?
Yasir Arafat: Hopefully Yes. I believe that I am born and destined to represent Pakistan in the field of cricket. And representing Pakistan in U-15, U-19, Pakistan Juniors, Pakistan A, captaining the Pakistan Emerging Eleven on away tours, then playing for Pakistan seniors and making a 4th comeback at such an early age indicated that God wished me to be in the fray of a cricket field.
PakPassion.Net: If you nick it, do you walk? Or do you leave the decision to the umpire?
Yasir Arafat: Normally I would look at the umpire and I would hope for the best but if the dreaded finger goes up then I will trudge on.
PakPassion.Net: Other upcoming players we should look out for?
Yasir Arafat: There are lots of upcoming players like Ashar Zaidi, Najaf Shah, Shahzad Malik, Sufyan Munir, Usman Tariq and many more.
PakPassion.Net: Who has helped you the most throughout your career so far, who has been your idol, the one you have looked up to?
Yasir Arafat: Definitely my father, who took me out in the cricket field in 1989 when I was just 7 years old, soaked me under the sun for years, imparted to me advanced physical training like advanced Yoga and Martial Arts when I was a child. I remember I won my green belt in the most punishing form of karate called KYUKUSION KAI style at the age of just 9 years. I claim to be the youngest ever green belt holder. I practiced Yoga from my childhood and it did a lot of good to my physical endurance later on. The famous German cricket physio Dan Kiesel was astonished to see my fitness and physique when he first examined and tested me physically during a physical camp for the juniors in Lahore.
PakPassion.Net: Which cricketer did you model yourself on?
Yasir Arafat: Waqar Younis has been my all time favourite and my role model. I always idolised him, his run up and his yorkers. I shared the new ball with him in Redco when I was very young and raw, it helped me amply. Playing alongside him, playing under Waqar or sharing the new ball with him so early on in 1998-99 was another dream come true for me.
PakPassion.Net: Would you say that the 5 wickets in 6 balls has been the biggest highlight of your career?
Yasir Arafat: 5 wickets in 6 balls is a feat which brought me into the world media's spotlights, I equalled the existing world record shared by 3 cricketers, yet I created a new world record as well. 5 wickets on 5 consecutive legitimate deliveries. Same last season when I unfortunately missed the chance to repeat the same feat again when I could get 4 wickets in 5 consecutive balls versus D.H.A, as innings folded.
PakPassion.Net: Has Shahid Afridi ever broken in bones in your hand when he is has had a handshake with you?
Yasir Arafat: No. Shahid Afridi Bhai is very kind to his juniors like me and secondly my own hands are hardened enough to withstand any such handshake! He is affectionately known as Lala which means Elder brother in Pushtu language.
PakPassion.Net: If you were to offer any advice to a young aspiring cricketer what would it be?
Yasir Arafat: For younger cricketers the only advice is to be committed and sincere to the game. Do your best, train hard and God will help you out.
PakPassion.Net: What is the standard of cricket in Scotland? Do you think they could become a test playing nation?
Yasir Arafat: Hopefully yes and why not? Scotland cricket is getting better each season. If their national cricketers were professional players it will do lot of good but they are normally amateurs, so can hardly take cricket full time. This may be their hinderance or handicap at present.
PakPassion.Net: Yasir as you are from rawalpindi what are your opinions on rizwan akbar and yasin bari?
Yasir Arafat: Well...
* Rizwan Akbar is a good bowler and a good performer with the ball. Capitalising with each and every opportunity he gets since last year. Good prospect definitely.
* Yasin Bari has a strong build and his great height is an asset. He hasn’t had many chances till now I feel he can be an asset when given a chance and a break.
PakPassion.Net: Do you feel that your odi debut was rushed or were you ready?
Yasir Arafat: My emergence was neither rushed nor premature, it happened to me and playing alongside greats like Wasim Akram, Saeed Anwar, Aamir Sohail was a dream come true situation. Getting my all time favourite Jayasuriya on only the 8th delivery of my career caught by Wasim Akram was an event to be remembered. I gave the first breakthrough to the Pakistan Team when Jayasuriya was at his punishing best. I got Jayasuria twice in 3 days in that tour.
PakPassion.Net: Whose your favourite domestic players yet to play for pakistan
Yasir Arafat: Sufyan Munir is one such stylish batsman to mention.
PakPassion.Net: What would you be doing if you were not a cricketer?
Yasir Arafat: If not a cricketer what would I be doing? God Knows better! But possibly a scattered young man!
PakPassion.Net: How do you rate Pakistan cricket's future?
Yasir Arafat: Pakistan crickets future is as bright as ever.
PakPassion.Net: How has county cricket helped you as a cricketer?
Yasir Arafat: County cricket made me a better player, a better competitor, more disciplined and refined.
PakPassion.Net: What in your opinion are the improvements that must be made to domestic cricket in Pakistan?
Yasir Arafat: Nothing wrong with our domestic cricket or system, our system has produced legends and stalwarts like... Little master Hanif Muhammad, Mushtaq Muhammad, Mighty Khan (Majid Khan), Mr. elegant Asif Iqbal, Spin wizards like Abdul Qadir and Mushtaq Ahmad, Sultan of swing Sarfraz Nawaz, Kings of swing and speed Wasim/ Waqar, that great Imran Khan, Asian Bradman Zaheer, Batting wizard Javed Miandad and many more. What else... some revolutionary development steps like the NCA and paid professional coaches for each team will bring fruits in the near future to come.
PakPassion.Net: Whose faster between Yasir Ali and Mohammad Irshad?
Yasir Arafat: Irshad is definitely faster but Yasir can be devastating if fully fit, fitness is his only handicap.
PakPassion.Net: How do you see Scottish cricket building on the ICC Trophy success and what young players would you look out for?
Yasir Arafat: The ICC Trophy win has brought a lot of good to Scottish Cricket. There are a lot of youngsters coming up like fast bowler Weeraratne, Qasim Sheikh, Hislop, Majid Haq, Lyons, Muneeb Iqbal, etc.
PakPassion.Net: Do you think Scotland are better than Ireland
Yasir Arafat: Not experienced playing Ireland so no commment.
PakPassion.Net: Should Scotland aim to build their team around home grown players?
Yasir Arafat: Scotland should definitely try to build its cricket around it's own grown players. There is ample talent, all that is needed is professionalism and organization, the rest will go ok.
PakPassion.Net: Have you seen Moneeb Iqbal and if so what is your verdict on him?
Yasir Arafat: Yes I have. Muneeb is a stylish batsman who is now a days vying for a place in the Durham senior team. He has had a taste of the Durham second eleven and also represented in the Scottish Junior team, a willing professional player. He can be a handy all-rounder as he is a decent leg spinner as well.
PakPassion.Net: What do you make of Qasim Skiekh and Kasim Farid at your club?
Yasir Arafat: Qasim Sheikh isa batting all-rounder and Qasim Farid is a bowling all-rounder. They are both good and upcoming talents, good prospects for their country and destined to represent Scotland in the future to come.
PakPassion.Net: Do you feel you need to play in a county team to really be seen as a potential pakistan player?
Yasir Arafat: Playing in county cricket is everyone's dream, if it comes my way, it will definitely be a big break. It improves a player. Look at Hussey, Symonds, Katich, etc.
PakPassion.Net: Would a career at Glamorgan appeal to you?
Yasir Arafat: Playing for any county is a dream of players round the world, if any such chance or opportunity comes my way it will be a lucky break for me. Definitely the Glamorgan team is steeped with history and which Pakistani Player would not love to follow in the footsteps of that great Majestic Khan (Majid), who captained Glamorgan for years.
PakPassion.Net: What aspects of your game do you think you need to work on?
Yasir Arafat: That’s a good question! I would say, one should be thinking about their game all the time to become a better and more thoughtful cricketer. I am working on the mental and practical side of my game.
PakPassion.Net: Does he think he is a better bowler or batsman?
Yasir Arafat: I feel I am equally proficient in both disciplines and from which position I perform in.
Yasir Arafat: Best regards, Yasir
Last edited by Salman; 6th July 2007 at 06:58.
Excellent stuff - what a fantastic young man - Hope he gets more chances ( first Yoga and Karate expert for Pak Team !!)
Many thanks to Yasir and Noddy bhai for this brilliant interview. Enjoyed it very much.
Interesting to read how he thinks his hand is too hard for Afridi to break!!