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The lone Shark from Pak

cricket Updated: Oct 08, 2009 14:51 IST
Deepika Sharma
Deepika Sharma
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

Leave Yasir Arafat alone.

He is not here to tell you why he's the only Pakistani player in the Champions League Twenty20 or to talk about the political ties between the two countries.

He wants to talk cricket, only cricket!

In the Capital for a media interaction, Arafat will represent Sussex Sharks — a club he has been playing for since 2006.

But being the only Pakistani face in the tournament, the 27-year-old all-rounder is bound to be a little nervous.

He speaks with caution and, understandably, is tight-lipped a number of times. “I have to be very careful about what I say,” he says. “I know the media will put me in the spotlight. I won't say I will be under pressure but I have to be careful of what I say.”

No Pakistani player has played on Indian soil since the Mumbai terror attacks last year. When asked about this, Arafat politely refused to comment. “Aap mujh se yeh sab mat puchiye (please don't ask me about this).”

“See, it is going to be very difficult for me to focus on my game if I am asked such questions. I have to stay involved with the team, concentrate on the matches and perform.”

Arafat said despite the lack of T20 match practice — Sussex played their last T20 game two months ago — their team had one big advantage. “Unlike other teams, our players have been playing together for many years. We know our strengths and weaknesses very well.”

“We definitely lack match practice in this format but we will play a few practice games to acclimatise well.”

Arafat also spoke his heart about how special being in India was for him. “This is my second visit here. The kind of warmth I get wherever I go... I am very fond of this place,” Arafat said.

Sussex Sharks play New South Wales Blues in their opening game on October 11 at the Ferozeshah Kotla.