MUMBAI: Former Pakistan all-rounder Shahid Afridi has pulled out of the upcoming Shpageeza Twenty20 Cricket League in Afghanistan. Afridi, who said that his international career was over in February 2017, was set to captain the Muslimyar Speenghar Tigers’ team in the tournament.
The team will be coached by the former South African cricketer Herschelle Gibbs.Afridi took to Twitter to make the announcement on Friday evening, citing a ‘very urgent family issue’ as the reason for his unavailability from the tournament in which he was supposed to be the star attraction.Afridi had earlier announced on Twitter about his availability for the Afghanistan tournament.The dashing right-hander, who played for Hampshire in the NatWest T20 Blast in England and scored his first-ever century in the shortest format of the game, had raised hopes of some fireworks in Afghanistan as well.It must be remembered that Afridi’s decision to play in the T20 tournament in Afghanistan was not welcomed by his home cricket board. The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) had expressed its displeasure as the senior cricketer had earlier sought permissions to play in the Big Bash League (BBL), but not in the tournament in Afghanistan.
Afridi was not the only Pakistani cricketer expected to take part in the Afghanistan T20 tournament. Former players like Abdul Razzaq, Umar Akmal, Kamran Akmal, Babar Azam, Sohail Tanvir and Rumman Raees were few other names associated with the Shpageeza Cricket League.
Relations between the Pakistan Cricket Board and Afghanistan Cricket Board have touched rock bottom after Afghanistan pulled out from a bilateral series in Pakistan earlier following a bomb blast in Kabul. The Afghan intelligence agencies had blamed Pakistan for that attack.
On its official Facebook page, the Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) wrote, “The ACB hereby cancel all kinds of cricket matches and initial mutual relationship agreement with the Pakistan Cricket Board. No agreement of friendly matches and mutual relationship agreement is possible with a country where terrorists are housed and provided safe havens.”