Hong Kong T20 Blitz 2017

Pakistan’s master blaster Shahid Afridi signs with Kowloon Cantons for Hong Kong T20 Blitz

The 36-year-old is the first major international star revealed for the March event, with more big names expected to sign on

PUBLISHED : Monday, 09 January, 2017, 9:15pm
UPDATED : Friday, 17 February, 2017, 12:42pm

Kowloon Cantons, joint winners of last year’s inaugural T20 Blitz, have pulled off another coup by signing Pakistan’s legendary big hitter and former captain Shahid Afridi for this year’s tournament.

Cantons set the benchmark in 2016 when they landed the prized signature of former Australia captain Michael Clarke.

And the popular franchise – launched by nine cricket-loving Hong Kong women and ex-Hong Kong captain Rahul Sharma – have done it again in 2017 by signing 36-year-old Afridi, one of the most flamboyant limited-overs batsmen of all time.

“I am looking forward to playing for the Kowloon Cantons in the Hong Kong T20 Blitz,” said Afridi, who has played in the Hong Kong Sixes.

“I’ve heard good things about the tournament and look forward to playing in Hong Kong again, a place where I always enjoy the atmosphere, people and hospitality,” he said.

If ever a player was programmed for T20 cricket, it is Afridi, who holds the record for most international wickets in the 20-over game at 97.

He is also a master batsman in one-day cricket and formerly held the record for fastest century in 50 overs, off 37 deliveries, against Sri Lanka.

He has played 27 tests for Pakistan, scoring five tons and eight fifties and taking 48 wickets.

Afridi has also represented his country in 398 one-day matches, scoring six centuries and 39 fifties, with 395 wickets.

In 98 T20 matches, he has four fifties and 97 wickets.

A spokesperson for Kowloon Cantons said: “We are thrilled to have such a fantastic player come into our Kowloon Cantons family, we have always looked at this tournament as a way to promote the game in Hong Kong and to provide more international exposure to our young domestic talent.

“We are sure that Shahid Afridi’s presence will once again bring this tournament into the global limelight.”

Hong Kong national skipper, Babar Hayat, will captain the team and he is supported by last year’s teammates Shahid Wasif, Tanveer Ahmed and Ehsan Nawaz.

Joining the Cantons line-up from March 8-12 will be Hong Kong players Giacomo Lamplough and Waqas Khan, Hong Kong Dragons player Ming Li, and young local talent Angus Robson. Craig Wright leads the team as head coach.

Also taking part in the tournament are Galaxy Gladiators Lantau, City Kaitak, Hung Hom JD Jaguars and Hong Kong Island United.

Cricket Hong Kong’s Max Abbott said of Afridi’s signing: “It’s a great boost for the tournament and obviously very exciting for fans to have Shahid Afridi coming to the Blitz.

“Kowloon Cantons set the standard last year on their overseas players with Michael Clarke and it’s a great credit to them to be bringing another international superstar.”