Abu Dhabi: The legendary Pakistan all-rounder and crowd favourite Shahid Afridi will be in action with the latest outfit to join the Abu Dhabi T10 — Team Qalandars. Owned by Fawad Rana, who won the hearts of the UAE fans by cheering for his team Lahore Qalandars in the Pakistan Super League through his dancing from the stands, is delighted to be ushering in his team.
Afridi, answering to a query from Gulf News on what will be the role that he will be playing for Qalandars, said: “Look, I am as fit as ever and I will not only be playing but also ensure that Qalandars perform brilliantly in this tournament.”
Speaking before the press conference held at the Abu Dhabi Sports Council to announce the entry of his team, Rana said: “I sincerely thank the T10 management and Abu Dhabi Sports Council, Department of Culture and Tourism Abu Dhabi and to Abu Dhabi Cricket for giving this opportunity to play in this popular tournament. I am also very excited for the opportunity to bring iconic players like Shahid Afridi to play before the fans here in Abu Dhabi.”
Afridi, after wishing the T10 more success, added: “Everyone have enjoyed playing in this format. In fact, all the overseas players enjoyed playing in this tournament so much that after the last edition they were all asking when would be the next edition of this league. I am now flooded with calls from many top stars wanting to play for our team.”
The Abu Dhabi T10 will be commencing on November 14 with a star-studded opening ceremony. Addressing the press conference, Aref Al Awani, General Secretary of Abu Dhabi Sports Council, said: “The announcement of the Qalandars’ participation is a prestigious boost for Abu Dhabi T10’s global profile and demonstrates the desire of international teams to come to Abu Dhabi as a destination for world class tournaments. Just like batting in cricket, we must recognise the importance of key partnerships and certainly our vision to bring the very best of cricket to Abu Dhabi.”
Last week, T10 organisers had announced another new team for the Bangladesh fans called Bangla Tigers. Qalandars are expected to get the backing of the huge Pakistan expatriates in the UAE.
The Qalandars arrival announcement function was attended by Matthew Boucher, CEO of Abu Dhabi Cricket, and Sameen Rana, the COO of Team Qalandars. Zayed Cricket Stadium, which will be the new home of T10 cricket for the next five years, after the league was held for two years in Sharjah, is gearing up for event.