County news March 22, 2016

Arafat switches to Somerset on season's loan

ESPNcricinfo staff

Yasir Arafat's experience includes a stint in the Big Bash League © Cricket Australia

Somerset have signed Yasir Arafat on a season-long loan deal from Hampshire as a non-overseas player.

Arafat, 34, returns to the county where he became a firm favourite with Somerset fans in 2013. He will also be available for all white ball cricket this season, although it remains to be seen if Somerset will also make demands in the four-day competition and further limit opportunities for home-produced players.

Matt Maynard, Somerset's director of cricket, billed Arafat's loan deal highly by saying: "We are absolutely delighted to have secured the services of another world class player. He is a proven performer in white ball cricket and is one of the best in the business in terms of bowling at the end of an innings."

The departure of Alfonso Thomas, for so long the mainstay of Somerset's attack, has persuaded them to seek solace in Arafat's experience.

"Following the departure of Alfonso at the end of last season it was felt that we lacked a little bit of experience in our bowling attack and Yasir will certainly bring that," Maynard said. "He also made quite an impression when he was last here and we are looking forward to seeing him do what he does best in a Somerset shirt."

Arafat, a limited-overs specialist, made 22 first-team appearances for Hampshire last season, in what was his first year at the Ageas Bowl, but the county feels he is dispensable after the signing of the England T20 quick bowler Reece Topley, calculating that Topley is not about to extend his England career by breaking into the Test side..

Hampshire Director of Cricket, Giles White said: "Reece Topley will be bowling our death overs in one day cricket and the opportunity for young bowlers to push for places will potentially narrow the playing prospects for Yasir. It seems right to allow a player of his experience to play at a club that can guarantee him game time."

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