Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan paid a hefty sum to purchase the IPL team Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in 2008. The team is among the most popular IPL teams and has a huge fan base across the country. It’s the third most successful team in the IPL with two trophies.
Under the leadership of their former captain Gautam Gambhir, KKR managed to win their maiden title in 2012 and the second one in 2014. They were even close to winning the title in 2021 but lost to Chennai Super Kings (CSK). But did you SRK once try to bring former Pakistani cricketer Yasir Arafat? Scroll down to know more.
Back in 2008, Shah Rukh Khan’s co-owned Kolkata Knight Riders had some of the big names in world cricket during the inaugural edition of the Indian Premier League. It was the first and only season when Pakistani cricketers were allowed to play. Shoaib Akhtar, former opener Salman Butt and Umar Gul represented KKR for the 2008 season.
Pakistani cricketer Yasir Arafat on Cricket Den’s YouTube channel revealed that he was approached by SRK‘s KKR team for the 2008 season. He said, “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.”
Arafat further said, “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. 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 travelling to the United States of America.”
“Then Mumbai blasts happened and Pakistan players were unable to become part of the competition ever again,” Yasir Arafat rued.
Arafat had a massive fan base in the English county during his playing career. He made his Test debut against India at the M.Chinnaswamy Stadium in 2007. The Pakistani skipper played for Sussex, Kent and Lancashire in the English county. His last international outing against India at the R.Premadasa Stadium was in 2012.
It is also worth pointing out that former Pakistani cricketer had played 11 One Day Internationals (ODIs), 3 Tests and 13 T20Is between 2007 to 2012.