Source | GulfToday Sep 22, 2019
The flamboyant former Pakistani opener Shahid Afridi ruled out any plans of becoming a coach of a national team in the near future like his ex-team-mate Misbah-ul-Haq.
He has been named as an Icon Player for the Abu Dhabi T10 League’s new team Lahore Qalandars. They already have a team in Pakistan Super League (PSL) and are set to make their foray into AD T10 in the third edition of the tournament.
The addition of the popular team, representing Pakistan’s strong cricketing tradition, underscores the diversity of the Abu Dhabi T10, and will resonate with the residents of Pakistan living in the UAE.
“I don’t have the temperament to be a coach of a national team. Moreover, I am fit as ever so my focus is on playing cricket right now. I will try to give my best to the team.
“I would rather be interested in coaching young boys under 18 and 19. At the young age they need coaching as that is the time they need grooming. Like if I tell my story to a young aspiring cricketer how I braved the pressure situations in the tough games it means I am passing on my experience to them.
“Not only will they be motivated but they will also learn a lot of new things that will help them in becoming good cricketers.”
He again stressed that the T10 can be cricket’s doorway to the Olympics.
“I think with the changing time T10 is the need of the hour. It suits fans, players and organisers, everybody. You get the result in 90 minutes. And we should embrace the change if it is for good.
“I like this format so much that it looks that it has been made for me. I really enjoy playing this format,” he added.
Shahid was the Icon Player of Pakhtoons in the previous two seasons. Pakhtoons have withdrawn from the tournament and are being replaced by Qalandars, who also have a franchise in the tourney.
But in the PSL, Afridi does not play for Qalandars. He did not rule out joining Qalandars in PSL but made it a point that his association with the franchise is limited to the AD T10 only as of now.
“Right now my commitment with Qalandars is limited to this league only. If they can tolerate me maybe I can join them for PSL as well.”
On the appointment of former captain Misbah ul Haq as Pakistan national team coach, he said: “It is a huge responsibility and I wish him all the best. We hope he will bring some welcome changes in the team.
“Babar Azam and Shadab Khan are very promising players. They are consistent and looks like they will play for a long time for Pakistan,” he concluded.
Owner of the Qalandars Fawad Rana expressed his delight on joining the AD T10 for the third season.
He said: “I am delighted for the Qalandars to join the Abu Dhabi T10 as we look forward to helping build a new legacy for cricket in the UAE capital.
“The game is built on big stars and fast action, so Qalandars are very excited for the opportunity to bring iconic players like Afridi to play for fans here in Abu Dhabi and around the world.”
“I hope that this partnership will go a long way. It has been an amazing journey in the last three years with Qalandars at the PSL and we hope to continue that streak here as well.”
He also said that it just not the re-branding of the Pakhtoons but they will have a new setup with a new coach and new players.
“I am not aware of the fact that Pakhtoons have withdrawn but we assure it will be a new team with a new setup. I am also thankful to the Abu Dhabi Sports Council (ADSC) for giving us the opportunity to be associated with them for the second time.
“The first time we played in their tournament last year when they invited seven teams from different parts of the world like FIFA Club World Cup. We defeated South Africa’s Titans in the final to lift the trophy,” he informed.
General Secretary of the ABSC Aref Al Awani also expressed his delight and gratitude to the UAE’s leadership.
“The advent of the AD T10 heralds the arrival of a new era. I am thankful to Sheikh Mubarak Bin Nahyan Al Nahyan for making efforts to bring cricket to Abu Dhabi. He really gave all the support to nurture cricket in the emirates.
“And holding such events with the top world-class players reaffirms the status of Abu Dhabi as a top sporting destination of the world.
“We are already hosting the events like Mubadala, Abu Dhabi Golf Championship, MMA, Cycling Tour and Formula One and this will add more flavour to an already action-packed roster,” he added.