Hampshire hoping second Afridi signing will provide the same entertainment as their first …!
HAMPSHIRE are hoping their new overseas signing can provide as many T20 fireworks as his similarly-named predecessor.
Young Pakistan international Shaheen Afridi will make his English county debut in next summer’s Vitality Blast tournament.
And supporters will be eager to see whether he writes as many headlines as big-hitting all-rounder Shahid Afridi did in his three spells at The Ageas Bowl.
Shaheen was still three days off his 18th birthday when he made his international debut in a T20 game against West Indies in April last year.
The 6ft 6in seamer was fast-tracked into his country’s team after just a handful of appearances in the Pakistan Super League.
Shaheen went on to make his ODI and Test debuts in the same year, before playing a starring role in last summer’s World Cup tournament.
He ended with 16 wickets - only eight players took more - and claimed the best haul ever for Pakistan in a World Cup with 6-35 at Lord’s in July against Bangladesh.
Those figures also proved to be the best of the tournament and his final average of 14.63 was better than every bowler who took more wickets.
In all, Shaheen has bagged 40 wickets at just 21.17 in 19 ODI matches.
Hampshire Director of Cricket Giles White said: ‘A lot of the best sides in T20 cricket possess a very good bowling attack and Shaheen adds an extra dimension to the group we have.
‘He offers excellent accuracy, pace and lots of variations.
‘He’s an emerging young talent in world cricket so we’re delighted to have him on board.’
Shaheen joins fellow seamers Kyle Abbott and Chris Wood, who were Hampshire’s leading T20 wicket-takers in 19 with 20 and 14 respectively.
In the slow bowling department, Hampshire are blessed with England internationals Liam Dawson and Mason Crane.
Hampshire have a proud T20 record with more qualifications for Finals Day than anyone else – appearing in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2017.
Last summer, though, they finished seventh out of nine in their qualifying group. There wasn’t much in it, though, and they only finished three points behind fourth-placed Essex – who went on to win the tournament.