Star left-arm pacer Shaheen Afridi has signed a three-year contract with Desert Vipers for the second season of the UAE’s ILT20, and will become the first Pakistan player to play in the league in January next year.
“I am excited to join the Desert Vipers. I know there are many Pakistan cricket fans in the UAE and I hope they will support our team in the upcoming ILT20,” Afridi said in a statement.
The next season of ILT20 is scheduled to begin on January 13, and Afridi could join the team after returning from Australia.
The Vipers had tried to sign a few players from Pakistan last year as well but those attempts didn’t materialise.
Last year, Vipers had signed Azam Khan, which would have made him the first Pakistan player in the ILT20, but the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) did not grant him the no-objection certificate to play in the league.
The PCB’s current chairman Zaka Ashraf has, however, is allowing players to participate in various T20 leagues.
“Shaheen is undeniably a player of world-class calibre who has had a significant impact not only for Pakistan but for every team he’s played for in recent times,” Vipers director of cricket Tom Moody said on their new signing.
“He offers a huge amount as an impact pace bowler that has destroyed many, many top-orders and he also boasts terrific leadership skills that will add a huge amount of value to the Desert Vipers moving forward.”
Afridi will join a bowling attack that has Wanindu Hasaranga, Matheesha Pathirana, Tom Curran and Sheldon Cottrell among others.