190310 Shahid Afridi
Shahid Afridi Image Credit: AP

Abu Dhabi: For a limited-over tournament in the UAE to be entertaining, it needs a player like all-rounder Shahid Afridi.

So the news that Afridi will be playing for the new team Qalandars in the Abu Dhabi T10 in November has been received here with great joy by the fans here.

Afridi played his last international match in May 2018, but he is still wanted by all the T20 leagues around the world.

Speaking to Gulf News about his fitness, he said: “I wouldn’t have been here if I cannot play in this format. I am fit and enjoying playing. I will give my best, sometimes I am successful, sometimes I am not.”

Every time he has been successful it has resulted in the team which he represents emerging as the winner. So to another query on what will be his message to his teammates, being the idol of the Qlanadars, on how to win T10 matches, Afridi said: “In T10 you need to think quick and act quick, ensure that no delivery is wasted. I will encourage everyone to give their best, sharing my experience.”

Afridi carries with him loads of experience having led Pakistan in many international matches. So what does Afridi feel about the changes that have come into the Pakistan team with Misbah-ul-Haq being appointed as head coach and chief selector? “Misbah has a huge responsibility now and he has to deliver. I sincerely feel that the changes that have been brought about in Pakistan cricket should run for two to three years. Misbah would need at least three years to get the team in order.”

Talking about Pakistan’s performance in the World Cup, Afridi said: “Pakistan’s performance in the World Cup was not what we expected but under the new coach we expect some changes.”

When asked why he hasn’t expressed his interest in coaching Pakistan’s national team, Afridi said: “I don’t have the temperament to coach the national team. Moreover, I am fit as ever so my focus is on playing cricket right now and try and give my best for the team.”

However, Afridi nicknamed Boom Boom, quickly added that he would be interested in grooming youngsters for Pakistan. “I would be interested in coaching young boys under 18 and 19. It is that age they need coaching. If I tell my story to a young aspiring cricketer, especially on how I braved the pressure situations in tough games. This way I can pass on my experience to them. Not only will they be motivated but also they will be learning a lot of new things that will help them to become a good cricketer.”

Meanwhile, T10 organisers announced that Sony Pictures Networks India (SPN) has joined with Abu Dhabi T10 as their official broadcast partner for the third consecutive year. All twenty-nine Abu Dhabi T10 matches will be telecast live on Sony Pictures Network Sony Six and Sony Ten 3 channels. In addition to this, SonyLIV and Jio will allow another 300 million viewers to live-stream the tournament on their mobile phones through their OTT platform.