Tuesday Sep 08, 2020
Former all-rounder Yasir Arafat has revealed how difficult it was for newcomers such as him in the early 2000s to find success in the presence of unwelcoming seniors.
The 38-year-old, who played just three Tests and 11 ODIs for Pakistan, said that the atmosphere in the Pakistan dressing room at the turn of the millennium was so suffocating, it made young players feel like aliens.
"When I made my debut in 2000, we had come after playing the Under-19 World Cup in Sri Lanka. The Pakistan senior team had come back from Australia at the time and there were a lot of changes being made. They had dropped five to six players due to bad performance," he said.
"The atmosphere was such, and the senior players had such an attitude that you would feel that you are unwelcome in the team. It felt like an alien atmosphere where, if you need to perform, you needed to do it all by yourself and you won’t get any support at all."
Arafat also spoke of rampant favouritism in the team back then, admitting that while Abdul Razzaq and Azhar Mehmood were deservedly ahead of him in the pecking order, he was ignored even when the duo were missing.
He also recalled an incident in 2005 when he was brought back in the national squad and, after being initially told that he won't play, was begrudgingly given a match.
"Even then there was no communication and I did not know until the last moment that I was going to play," Arafat said.