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Who is Naved Arif?

Andrew McGlashan

May 22, 2014

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Naved Arif runs in to bowl, Sussex v Surrey, County Championship Division One, Horsham, June, 6, 2012
Naved Arif played 12 first-class matches for Sussex © Getty Images
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Naved Arif, now 32, is not a household name in cricket, but neither is he a nobody. A first-class bowling average of 24.38 showed that he had some skill when it came to his left-arm pace bowling and he reached as far as Pakistan A in 2009 when he toured Australia, playing against the likes of Cameron White and George Bailey, and Sri Lanka.

Now, however, the man given the nickname 'Barry' - as in Great Barrier Reef - while playing league cricket in Lancashire faces being known forever as a match-fixer if the charges laid by the ECB in relation to a county match in 2011 are made to stick.

He joined Sussex in 2011 - ironically, it was announced on the same day as Sussex's signing of Lou Vincent - a process eased by the fact his wife was Danish so he did not class as an overseas player. He had made his first-class debut in Pakistan in 2002, and marked the appearance with figures of 5 for 28 against Hyderabad.

At the time, Mark Robinson, the Sussex coach, said: "Naved is a late developer, and with his background in Pakistan he's had to do it the tough way. His record out there on unhelpful wickets is outstanding and he's got the potential to change games."

His Sussex debut came in April 2011, against Lancashire at Aigburth, and it was undistinguished affair as he took 1 for 68 and made 6 and 0 in an innings defeat. However, a couple of weeks later against the same opposition he scored an unbeaten hundred - his only one in first-class cricket, he does not have another score over fifty - to earn Sussex a draw when defeat had looked likely. Wisden said Arif had mixed "studied defence with attractive leg-side blows". He helped save the match in a last-wicket stand of 90 alongside Monty Panesar.

He played just four Championship matches in the season, but claimed a creditable 15 wickets at 25.86. He was more of a regular in the 40-over team and on August 23 faced Kent in a televised match that has been long under the spotlight despite being cleared by ICC. Arif made 11 off 29 balls as, from a position of considerable strength, Sussex failed to chase down 217. He had earlier conceded 0 for 41 in six overs.

In 2012 he made seven Championship appearances, his last against Warwickshire at Edgbaston in what was also his final first-team match for Sussex. At the end of the season he was released having appeared in just two more 2nd XI fixtures.

In December of the same year he played two matches for Sialkot Stallions and his last professional game of cricket was against Lahore Lions, where he took 1 for 29.

However, he did play club cricket again in England as recently as April this year when he appeared for Little Stoke Cricket Club taking 5 for 26 and making 52.

If found guilty of the charges he faces Arif now faces a ban from all levels of cricket organised, authorised or supported by the ECB, ICC, any other National Cricket Federation and any member of any other National Cricket Federation.

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Andrew McGlashan Assistant Editor Andrew arrived at ESPNcricinfo via Manchester and Cape Town, after finding the assistant editor at a weak moment as he watched England's batting collapse in the Newlands Test. Andrew began his cricket writing as a freelance covering Lancashire during 2004 when they were relegated in the County Championship. In fact, they were top of the table when he began reporting on them but things went dramatically downhill. He likes to let people know that he is a supporter of county cricket, a fact his colleagues will testify to and bemoan in equal quantities.
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