Surrey’s overseas seam bowler Yasir Arafat is planning to put a disappointing first half to the season behind him in order to drive the Lions to Clydesdale Bank 40 glory.
Having suffered a miserable time in the County Championship, where his 10 wickets have come at a costly average of 69.8, the likeable Pakistan right-armer picked up a couple of injuries and has struggled to force his way back into the four-day side.
The ex-Kent and Sussex all-rounder was overlooked for Surrey’s Championship derby with Middlesex in Guildford last week, but announced his intent with a five for 45 return in the crucial three-wicket CB40 win over Warwickshire back at Woodbridge Road on Sunday July 24.
In explaining his decision to move from Hove to SE11, Arafat said: “I felt I had a very good season with Sussex last year and was waiting for news from them about going back, but they didn’t get back to me until after Christmas. That was a little disappointing to me.
“So I contacted my agent who told me that Surrey were interested in me. They were a club that interested me, so I asked him to go for it. I’ve no regrets about coming here, I’m a professional cricketer and will go where I can get good cricket.”
Arafat added: “It’s been a strange season bowling-wise, though. The Championship has been disappointing, but I’ve been much more consistent in the CB40. I didn’t take a wicket in our first Championship match at the Oval and then went to Cardiff and didn’t pick up a wicket there
either in the only innings.
“After that I got injured twice, unfortunately. My hamstring went first and then, after I’d recovered from that, I picked up my elbow problem. By the time I came back from that, the captain and coach had decided to go with the three other seamers (Meaker, Dernbach and Linley) and they’re doing exceptionally well.
“I am trying my best, training hard in the gym and can only keep trying my best when the chances do come along.”
Arafat also concedes that his patchy form and the team’s inability to qualify for the Friends Life t20 quarter finals was a blow to morale.
“It has been a little bit frustrating this season because I usually stay fit. This is the first time I have had two different injuries this close together.
“We are challenging well in the CB40 now and I think we can qualify. But we were also favourites for a home draw in the t20, but lost two vital games at the end there. Twenty20 was a long competition and 16 games were too many. We won five games on the trot in the middle, and overall our young side did well, but we just ran out of energy.”