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Shaheen signs three-year deal with Desert Vipers

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DUBAI: Fast bowling spearhead Shaheen Shah Afridi has signed a three-year contract with Desert Vipers for the second season of UAE’s International League (IL) T20 tournament, and will become the first Pakistan player to play in the league starting in January next year, a media report said on Monday.

“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,” left-armer Shaheen was quoted as saying by the Press Trust of India news agency.

The next season of ILT20 is scheduled to begin on Jan 13, and the 23-year-old Shaheen, who is the captain of Lahore Qalandars franchise in the Pakistan Super League (PSL) T20 tournament, could join the Vipers squad after returning from Australia where he would be touring with the Pakistan team for a three-Test series after the 50-over ICC World Cup in India.

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 wicket-keeper/batter Azam Khan, which would have made Shaheen the first Pakistan player in the ILT20, but the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) did not grant the paceman the no-objection certificate to feature in the league.

Zaka Ashraf, the chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Interim Management Committee, 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,” the former Australian all-rounder added.

Shaheen at Vipers will join a bowling attack containing Wanindu Hasaranga, Matheesha Pathirana, Tom Curran and Sheldon Cottrell among others.

Published in Dawn, August 15th, 2023


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