Abu Dhabi T10 league: Shahid Afridi renews ties with Qalandars franchise

Abu Dhabi T10 league: Former Pakistan all-rounder Shahid Afridi has signed with the Qalandars as an icon player for the upcoming Abu Dhabi T10 league, which will run from January 28 to February 6, 2021, at the Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium.

“Shahid Afridi is an exciting and experienced cricketer. The Qalandars family is proud to welcome him back as an icon player for this season of Abu Dhabi T10. We look forward to welcoming him to the Qalandars family and hope that his presence will take the team to new heights in the season,” Sameen Rana, CEO of Qalandars, said. Afridi had signed a similar deal in 2019 but Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) refused to issue NOCs for all active as well as retired Pakistani players to feature in the league, resulting in a diplomatic crisis between Pakistan and UAE, ESPNcricinfo reported.

The PCB had originally allowed Pakistan players to be drafted in the league but then unexpectedly revoked the permission. In a statement, the PCB said that the decision had been taken “to manage the players’ workload, continued work on their fitness levels [and] to ensure primacy and participation of its players in its premier Quaid-e-Azam Trophy.”

The fourth edition of the tournament will see the new franchise Pune Devils making their debut at the fast-paced event.

Abu Dhabi T10 is the only ICC-sanctioned T10 cricket tournament in the world. Owned by Alpha Sports, Pune Devils has appointed South African veteran Jonty Rhodes as its head coach and Sri Lankan limited-overs specialist Thisara Perera as an all-rounder. Pakistan fast bowler Mohammad Amir will spearhead the pace attack for Pune Devils.

On Thursday, Amir confirmed his retirement from international cricket to the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB). The Pakistan pacer played 36 Tests, 61 ODIs, and 50 T20Is. Amir went on to take 259 wickets across three formats of the game.