Galle Gladiators sign Shahid Afridi as icon player for Lanka Premier League
Pakistan star all-rounder Shahid Afridi is set to feature in the inaugural Lanka Premier League (LPL) after being confirmed as the marquee signing for Galle Gladiators.
The announcement was made at the launch ceremony of Galle Gladiators, which is owned by the Pakistan Super League (PSL) franchise Quetta Gladiators.
While Afridi represented Multan Sultans in the unfinished PSL earlier this year, he will be playing for the Gladiators-owned Galle in the upcoming LPL scheduled to commence on November 14.
"We have got Shahid Afridi as our icon player. It is a huge honour for us to have such a great servant of Pakistan cricket represent us and we are overjoyed to have Afridi in the Galle team," Gladiators owner Nadeem Omar said during the signing event held in Karachi.
Afridi's involvement with Galle expands his already extensive T20 portfolio as he continues to be a popular figure in cricket circles despite having reached the twilight of his career.
The former Pakistan skipper last turned out in an international game two years ago for ICC World XI in the exhibition clash against West Indies at Lord's.
He has a vast experience of 317 appearances in the shortest format with an impressive strike rate of 153.87 and an exceptional economy rate of 6.71.
Additionally, Galle Gladiators have roped in former wicketkeeper-batsman Moin Khan as the team head coach. Moin also coaches Quetta in the PSL, helping them clinch their maiden title in 2019.
"I'm really glad to be a part of this. I think this is the only country in the region [without a T20 franchise league] as BPL, IPL and PSL are happening. I hope it will be as good as other leagues taking place elsewhere," Moin said.
The 23-match LPL will be staged across the three international venues of Rangiri Dambulla International Cricket Stadium, Pallekele International Cricket Stadium and Suriyawewa Mahinda Rajapakse International Cricket Stadium.
Four other participating teams are named after the cities of Colombo, Kandy, Dambulla and Jaffna. The competition was originally supposed to start at the end of August but was delayed keeping in mind the strict quarantine regulations imposed by the Sri Lankan government.
It will now be officially launched in mid-November with the final on December 6. IPG Group is the official rights holder of the event and Cricingif is the official media sponsor.