Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large

Emirates amateurs excited over new teammate called Afridi

The 29-year-old all-rounder will play for Fly Emirates, the domestic club side made up of airline employees, during a weekend festival in March.

DUBAI // Shahid Afridi's army of UAE-based supporters will get a second chance to see their idol in action within the space of a month, when he lines up alongside a team of baggage handlers and cabin crew at next month's Emirates Twenty20. The 29-year-old all-rounder will play for Fly Emirates, the domestic club side made up of airline employees, during the weekend festival of the abridged format at The Sevens.

The side, which is otherwise made up of amateur players, will be taking on two English counties, Sussex and Surrey, as well as the South African side, Cape Cobras, on March 19 and 20. "It is going to be a tough challenge, but I am looking forward to it immensely," said Afridi. "I always enjoy my time in Dubai. I know there is a real passion among cricket fans in the UAE and it will be great to play in front of them."

Afridi, who captains Pakistan in the 20-over game, is in the middle of a two-match ban for ball tampering. He should return for the second of two Twenty20s against England on Saturday at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium. While the term "freelance crick-eter" may initially have been coined in reference to Andrew Flintoff, the injured England all-rounder, it is Afridi who is really becoming the first Twenty20 hired hand.

He played for the South Australia Redbacks in Australia's recent Twenty20 Big Bash, and will represent Hampshire in the England Twenty20 Cup this summer. He would also have been certain of a lucrative deal in the Indian Premier League, had Pakistan players not been sidelined by visa issues. His latest colleagues may only have the chance to call him their teammate for a weekend, but the prospect already has them salivating. "I can't believe that Shahid Afridi will be playing for us," said Nigel Fernandes, the UAE batsman and Fly Emirates captain.

"He is a player I greatly admire. He is a natural talent who can win matches single-handedly. "It will be an incredible experience for everyone in the team and a real honour to line up beside him." @Email:pradley@thenational.ae

Back to the top

More articles


Editor's Picks

 Mitchell Johnson of Kings XI Punjab bowling in the IPL match against Rajasthan Royals at Sharjah Cricket Stadium in Sharjah on Sunday. Pawan Singh / The National / April 20, 2014

IPL Day 5 action in Sharjah

Images from the fifth day of the Indian Premier League in the UAE on Sunday, with Kings XI Punjab beating Rajasthan Royals by seven wickets with eight balls remaining.

 Raheem Sterling of Liverpool scores the opening goal against Norwich City on Sunday at Carrow Road. Michael Regan / Getty Images / April 20, 2014

In pictures: Sterling, Suarez inch Liverpool closer to title

Raheem Sterling, with a double, and Luis Suarez accounted for all three goals in Liverpool’s 3-2 away win over Norwich City on Sunday, leaving them five points up on Chelsea with three left to play.

 Manager Matt Williams benching star Bryce Harper, above, may have sent the wrong message to the rest of the Washington Nationals. Mike Ehrmann / AFP

Benching Harper sends Williams’s right message the wrong way

Matt Williams, the Washington Nationals manager, made the biggest move of his 18-game tenure on Saturday, benching rising star Bryce Harper for his “lack of hustle”.

 Arsenal's Lukas Podolski celebrates his second goal during the Premier League match against Hull City at The KC Stadium in Hull, England, on April 20, 2014. Lynne Cameron / AP Photo

Arsenal maintain push for top-four finish with victory at Hull

Hull could end up in Europe regardless of the FA Cup final result if Arsenal finish in the Uefa Champions League places

 Ashish Nehra of Chennai Super Kings bowls to Kings XI Punjab at Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi. Ravindranath K / The National

Hard-hitting Chennai not deterred by opening loss in IPL

But some questions remain about the team's attack ahead of Monday's match against Delhi Daredevils in Abu Dhabi, writes Osman Samiuddin.

 Stanislas Wawrinka turned away fellow Swiss Roger Federer with a 4-6, 7-6, 6-2 victory at the Monte Carlo Masters on April 20, 2014. Julian Finney / Getty Images

Wawrinka backhands Federer aside at Monte Carlo Masters

Stanislas Wawrinka won the Monte Carlo Masters for the first time after rallying to beat Roger Federer 4-6, 7-6, 6-2 in a rare all-Swiss final.

Events

To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National