Afridi is back on the Royals radar

Australia's George Bailey has already agreed to play for Hampshire next season
Australia's George Bailey has already agreed to play for Hampshire next season
England's Mason Crane will make his England Test debut when the fifth Ashes Test begins at Sydney Cricket Ground tonight

Root: Hampshire talent will embrace Ashes debut

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Giles White has confirmed Hampshire are weighing up a move to bring back Shahid Afridi.

The Pakistan superstar made a huge impact as the club’s overseas Friends Life t20 player during the 2011 season.

And while he was eventually unable to return in 2012, his replacement Glenn Maxwell made his own impression, which then propelled him into the Australian national set-up.

The Royals – who lifted the title in some style at Cardiff last summer – already have another talented Aussie in George Bailey signed up until August, but have yet to fill the berth for their second t20 overseas slot.

And although the Hampshire manager is prepared to play the waiting game to get the right man, it seems White has set his sights on two of his former charges.

He said: ‘We’ve got a good pool of players who have played for us in recent years – the likes of Afridi and Maxwell. They are certainly on our radar and we have touched base with them.

‘But nothing has been confirmed yet.

‘Shahid offers so much. He’s been outstanding when he has played for us, he fits in very well in the changing room and he’s a world-class player.

‘He is playing less cricket now so it depends on his availability.

‘Glenn is another player who has done very well for us but, at the moment, he is in the Australian Test squad, he’s playing in the Indian Premier League and there is a lot going on for him.

‘So we’ll see how things evolve over the next few weeks.

‘We’re going to wait and see what the international schedules look like before we commit to a t20 player.

‘It’s a congested schedule and we don’t want to be in a position where we sign someone and then he’s not available.’

Hampshire already have Bailey in their ranks to play all forms, before Saeed Ajmal takes over for the final two months of the campaign.

But the Australian may yet get the call from his country’s selectors for the Ashes Tour this summer, which could affect his availability.

White said: ‘It depends what happens with George. If he is in the Ashes squad, he won’t be available for the t20.

‘He’s had some strong one-day performances. He hasn’t played Test cricket but he has got a good first-class average.

‘He might be seen as a leader and, at 30 years old, they might look for someone with his experience as Mike Hussey or Ricky Ponting are not there any more.

‘He will definitely be with us for the first couple of months, though.’

With the ICC Champions Trophy also scheduled to take place in June in this country, White could yet pick up another international player, although he admits he would rather not leave it so late.

He said: ‘The Champions Trophy could possibly open up some avenues for different players if you leave it that late.

‘But I think we would want to have things a bit more firmed up before the start of the season.’