Afridi to star in amateur side at Emirates Airline Twenty20

Shahid Afridi – the talismanic all-rounder who inspired Pakistan’s World Twenty20 victory in London last year – has signed up to play in the inaugural Emirates Airline Twenty20.

Fly Emirates XI – a team of amateurs who juggle cricket with busy jobs at the Emirates Group - have recruited the 29-year-old in a bid to claim a shock victory against the professional teams they will be facing in the two-day festival of cricket on 19th and 20th March.

Afridi will be lining up alongside Emirates employees – including four who are also members of the UAE team which reached the last four of the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifiers - as they attempt to upset the odds against some of South Africa and England’s most talented Twenty20 players.

"It is going to be a tough challenge, but I am looking forward to it immensely. I always enjoy my time in Dubai and am very excited about playing in the first ever Emirates Airline Twenty20 tournament," Afridi said.

It is a dream come true for Fly Emirates XI skipper Nigel Fernandes, who is delighted his team will get the opportunity to learn from one of the game’s most gifted players.

"I can’t believe that Shahid Afridi will be playing for us," said the 32-year-old batsman from India, who works as an Airport Services Supervisor at the Emirates Group.

"He is among the best players in the world at the moment and to have him alongside us will give us great confidence.

"He is a player I greatly admire. He is a natural talent who can win matches singlehandedly. It will be an incredible experience for everyone in the team and a real honour to line up beside him."

Afridi will be the star attraction at the event, but the Cape Cobras – the reigning Twenty20 champions of South Africa featuring experienced players and emerging stars – will also have a strong following, while fans of the English County game won’t be disappointed.

Sussex are England’s Twenty20 Cup holders and NatWest Pro40 champions and, with England players Monty Panesar, Ed Joyce and James Kirtley in their ranks, they should also prove popular with spectators, who will be able to take part in a number of fun activities planned by Arabian Cricket Challenge (ARCH), the event organisers.

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