Afridi signs for English T20 champions

London, Feb 21 (AFP) Big-hitting Pakistan World Cupskipper Shahid Afridi is to join English Twenty20 championsHampshire for their 2011 campaign, the club said today.

The explosive all-rounder, captaining his side at theongoing 50-over World Cup in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh,will arrive at the club in May and is expected to be availablefor the entire Friends Provident T20 campaign.

Afridi, 30, had been due to join the Hampshire Royalslast year but withdrew to resume the captaincy of the Testside, a statement on the club''s website said.

"I was disappointed not to join Hampshire last season. Itwould have been fantastic to have been a part of the team thatmade history by winning the T20 trophy on home soil," Afridisaid, according to the statement.

"Having played at the Rose Bowl for Pakistan last year Iknow that it is fast becoming one of the best places in thecountry to watch cricket of all levels. I hope very much toplay a big part in the club''s success in 2011."

Afridi, one of the most devastating batsmen in worldcricket, made his one-day debut for Pakistan aged just 16. Hescored the fastest recorded ODI hundred in his maiden innings,reaching 100 runs off only 37 balls.

Afridi, who has played 312 one-day internationals and 27Tests, was named player of the tournament in the inauguralWorld Twenty20 in 2007 and was part of the Pakistan side thatwon the 2009 title in England.

"Shahid is a wonderful all-round cricketer and will be areal asset to our club over what should be an incrediblyexciting summer at the Rose Bowl," said Hampshire managerGiles White.

He joins Imran Tahir as the second of Hampshire''s twopermitted overseas signings eligible to play in thecompetition. (AFP) SHN

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