Yasir Arafat. (Image Credits: Getty)
Former Pakistan all-rounder Yasir Arafat has revealed how his contract with the Kolkata Knight Riders was sealed ahead of IPL 2009. The right-arm seamer didn’t initially believe it when KKR’s scouting team offered him a contract on behalf of Shah Rukh Khan.
When Arafat joined the Kolkata Knight Riders, he became the fifth Pakistani player to join the franchise, alongside Umar Gul, Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Akhtar, and Salman Butt. The 40-year-old said Shah Rukh Khan was one of the reasons he joined the franchise.
In a recent interaction on Cricket Den’s YouTube channel, Arafat said that when he was playing county cricket with Kent in 2008, KKR’s scouting team met with him. The Rawalpindi-born cricketer felt it was only a joke saying, as quoted by Cricket Pakistan:
“Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) had shortlisted names for the first edition and unfortunately, I was not among them and couldn’t play. I was playing county cricket for Kent in 2008 where KKR’s scouting team specially came from India and they met me during a match.””They revealed that Shah Rukh Khan wants me to play for his side. Initially, I thought it was a joke as to why Shah Rukh would send somebody to talk regarding the contract. They also handed me a card and took my contact details.”
However, the deal couldn’t go through due to the tensions that erupted as a result of the 2008 Mumbai attacks. Almost 11 Pakistani players were part of the inaugural edition in 2008.
Shahrukh Khan picked up my contract through someone in London: Yasir Arafat
Shahrukh Khan. (Image Credits: Getty)
Arafat claimed that he received an email about why he didn’t accept KKR’s offer, following which Khan called him. In this regard, he added:
“A few weeks later, I received an email where they complained about not contacting and the discussion was put off. They again offered me a three-year contract where Shah Rukh himself called and welcomed me. He also picked up my contract through someone in London while traveling to the United States of America. Then the Mumbai blasts happened and Pakistan players were unable to become part of the competition ever again.”
The 40-year-old featured in 27 international matches across formats but has played T20 cricket worldwide. He played his last professional game in 2019.