Shahid Afridi joins Lahore Qalandars

Cricket has a lot of formats these days. And with each format is accompanied glitzy franchise-based league whose proliferation, expansion or contraction continues throughout the year. The latest expansion comes in a Dubai-based T10 League which will be in its 3rd edition alter this year.

The League comprised of eight franchises in the last edition: Bengali Tigers, Kerela Knights, Maratha Arabians, Northern Warriors, Pakhtoons, Punjabi Legends, and Sindhis Squad. In what is a significant development two new teams- Bangla Tigers and Qalandars- will take part in this year’s edition in Abu Dhabi.

This second edition of the 12-day league worked under structures including the supervision of the ICC anti-corruption unit and attracted participation from some of the best T20 cricketers around the world. A lot of established power hitters from Shahid Afridi to Chris Gayle and Alex Hales made their presence in the tournament.

The league had previously included a team named Bengal Tigers, but that team – owned by the India-based Danube Group – have since changed their name to Delhi Bulls. The former Sindhis franchise, meanwhile, has been rebranded following a takeover by the Indian businessman Gaurav Grover, and will now be called Deccan Gladiators.

The T10 league has moved from Sharjah to Abu Dhabi for the new season.

Two new teams – Qalandars and Bangla Tigers – will take part in this year’s T10 League in Abu Dhabi. The latest team, Qalandars, was unveiled on Sunday, with Shahid Afridi signing on as the franchise’s icon player.

The legendary player of Pakistan, Shahid Afridi set to be the icon player for Qalandars in the upcoming T10 league. The move was taken as Qalandars are going to be the latest team in the tournament.

Shahid Afridi has always been a massive player in the franchise cricket. He is still on top of his game, delivering the goods more often than not across the globe. Recently, he displayed high-quality cricketing skills in Global T20 Cricket.

Shahid Afridi will certainly help to lift the team amidst already-evolved teams.

The partnership between Afridi and Qalandars – a well-known entity in Pakistan Super League – is certain to attract even more members of the Pakistani community to the tournament.

“I am T10 and this format is my type of cricket,” Afridi said during a media interaction at the Abu Dhabi Sports Council on Sunday. “I was very excited to be a part of it from the time I heard it was going to be played in Abu Dhabi.”

“The first two editions of T10 were in Sharjah and now it is in Abu Dhabi. We will be here to provide fans all the entertainment in this short format of the game. T10 is a different concept where batsmen will have to have a go from the start. It’s good to have some variety for the fans.”

Afridi, 44, insisted players must have the skills in all three areas – batting, bowling and fielding – to succeed in the T10 format.

“I’m still fit and wouldn’t be here if I can’t play in this format,” Afridi said when asked if he still has the ability to play at a competitive level.

However, Afridi believes T10 should have different rules; mainly just six players allowed to bat and five to bowl. “This is my view and I’m saying it because I was asked to give my opinion,” Afridi, also known as ‘Boom Boom’ for his explosive brand of cricket, added.

The T10 was first introduced in the UAE in 2017 and has attracted top-quality players including the likes of Eoin Morgan, Shane Watson, Rashid Khan, Andre Russell, Lasith Malinga and Darren Sammy.

Qalandars chairman Fawad Rana said he is looking forward to building a new legacy for cricket in the UAE capital.

“The game is built on big stars and fast action, so Qalandars are very excited to bring iconic players like Shahid Afridi to Abu Dhabi,” he said.

Matthew Boucher, chief executive officer of Abu Dhabi Cricket, stated that by securing a renowned franchise like the Qalandars, Abu Dhabi Sports Council has “demonstrated its mandate to host world-class international cricketing and sporting events”.

“We have worked hard this year to prepare the Zayed Cricket Stadium to be the new home of T10 cricket for the next five years,” he said.

The first match of the Abu Dhabi T10 will take place on November 15.

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