Pakistani cricket sensation, Shaheen Shah Afridi, is reaching new heights of success. Renowned as one of the world’s finest bowlers, he has been signed by the Desert Vipers for the upcoming DP World International League T20 (ILT20) Season 2. This announcement was made by the franchise on Monday.
Having taken an impressive 229 wickets in the T20 format, Shaheen continues to be a highly sought-after player on the global stage.
A statement from the Desert Vipers revealed that preparations are already underway for an exciting second edition of the international event, following the massive success of the inaugural season.
“The DP World ILT20 Season 2 is set to shine even brighter with the addition of Pakistani cricket superstar Shaheen Shah Afridi. Known for his remarkable left-arm pace and 229 wickets in 161 T20 matches, he will proudly represent the Desert Vipers, who were finalists in the first season,” the statement read.
The complete list of new signings for the upcoming DP World ILT20 Season 2, scheduled for January-February 2024, will be unveiled in the coming days.
The statement also acknowledged Shaheen’s impressive journey, highlighting his progress across various formats since making his T20I debut in 2018.
Recognized as one of the premier pacers in modern cricket, Shaheen possesses a remarkable ability to claim wickets early in his spells.
Since his debut in 2018, Shaheen’s evolution as a cricketer has been remarkable. His accomplishments include being awarded the ICC Player of the Year in 2021, along with the prestigious Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy – the ICC’s most prestigious annual award for a cricketer.
Moreover, the left-arm pacer led the Lahore Qalandars to consecutive victories in the Pakistan Super League (PSL). His captaincy guided the Qalandars to back-to-back PSL titles in 2022 and 2023, making them the first team in the league to achieve this feat.
Shaheen’s international wickets tally is an impressive 239 (105 in Tests, 70 in ODIs, and 64 in T20Is).
“I am thrilled to join the Desert Vipers. Knowing that there are many Pakistani cricket enthusiasts in the UAE, I am hopeful for their support as we compete in the upcoming DP World ILT20,” expressed Shaheen, the global cricket star.
It’s worth noting that Shaheen Shah Afridi was offered the captaincy for the inaugural ILT20 edition. However, the then-chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), Ramiz Raja, declined to allow Pakistani players to participate in the league.
Leading players such as Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan were also offered substantial contracts, including a three-year captaincy deal worth USD 900,000 each, for the first ILT20 edition.
Fakhar Zaman and Mohammad Hasnain were in high demand for the league, and although Azam Khan was selected by the Vipers, he did not receive the necessary No-Objection Certificate (NOC).
In the inaugural ILT20 edition, teams like Dubai Capitals, Abu Dhabi Knight Riders, MI Emirates, Sharjah Warriors, Gulf Giants, and Vipers competed. The Gulf Giants, captained by Colin Munro, clinched the championship by defeating the Vipers in the final on February 12 of this year.
With the upcoming ILT20 set to be even more grand and exciting, league management is focused on securing more international cricket stars. The list of foreign cricketers joining the league will be announced soon.