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Last Updated: Thursday, 26 May, 2005, 11:28 GMT 12:28 UK
Arafat pursues Caribbean dream
By Jamie Lillywhite

Yasir Arafat
If we get to the World Cup and are drawn against Pakistan it would be fantastic to see Yasir in their team
Scotland captain Craig Wright

Yasir Arafat has a dream - a dream of playing for Pakistan against Scotland, his adopted homeland for the past five summers.

And it could come true at the 2007 World Cup in the West Indies.

The Clydesdale professional is in his second year representing the Scottish Saltires in the Totesport League.

He will not be able to help the national team in July, however, when they attempt to win one of five World Cup qualifying places on offer at the ICC Trophy in Ireland.

So how does he rate their prospects?

"They have a very good chance, they are very confident," Arafat told BBC Sport.

And what of him competing against them for Pakistan?

"That would be great fun," he mused.

"We'd certainly like to take care of our side of the bargain by qualifying," said Scotland skipper Craig Wright.

"It would be great to play against Yasir, or Rahul Dravid if we were drawn against India, as he was with us a couple of years ago."

Arafat burst onto the international stage for Pakistan as a 17-year-old against Sri Lanka in 2000.

Pakistan were led by Saeed Anwar, and also in that team were Wasim Akram and Saqlain Mushtaq.

"I wasn't nervous because I had played before in front of a big crowd but they helped a lot, they told me to enjoy the cameras and the crowds," Arafat recalled.

He removed none other than Sri Lankan skipper Sanath Jayasuriya with his eighth delivery and recorded figures of 1-28 from his five overs.

Batting at number nine he was dismissed for six as Pakistan were beaten by 29 runs, but it was 14 months before he was given another chance.

That was also against Sri Lanka and his return was 1-37 from seven overs, but he failed again with the bat, making only four.

And that has so far been the extent of his international career.

"The next season after my last match I was Player of the Year in domestic cricket in Pakistan," he said.

"I took 91 wickets and scored over 750 runs, but they didn't select me."

Yasir Arafat
Though mainly a paceman, Arafat is a more than capable batsman

In December 2004 he equalled a world record with five wickets in six balls for Rawalpindi against champions Faisalabad.

"One was an illegal delivery, a no-ball," he replied, when asked why he hadn't made it six out of six.

This year he has been chosen for the Pakistan A team, and captured six wickets against England A, plus a five-for against Sri Lanka A, so how confident is he of a return to the full side?

"I don't know what's happening," he said.

"I read a statement from the management that said if I was in the team that would put pressure on (Abdur) Razzaq, but that's not a proper point, that's not right."

So in the meantime, he must try to impress in Scotland, where conditions are a far cry from those at the packed National Stadium in Karachi, where he made his international debut.

This year, former Kenya coach Andy Moles is in charge of the Scottish team.

"He has been working with all the players, especially in the fielding department," Arafat explained.

"He has brought in new technology, a different style in the fielding sessions and different techniques."

If dreams become reality, Arafat could one day end up lamenting that Moles has done too good a job.




SEE ALSO
Arafat signs again for Saltires
24 Feb 05 |  Scotland


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