Hampshire’s NatWest T20 Blast campaign will boosted by the presence of Pakistan’s legendary all-rounder Shahid Afridi.
The two-time champions Hampshire have managed to bring Afridi back to the Rose Bowl, after having featured in the 2016 campaign as well.
Hampshire did not have a great time last season, finishing on the penultimate position on the points table and even Afridi struggled to make an impact with the ball. He picked up just nine wickets from 12 matches and despite the stinginess he showed in conceding runs, his side will expect him to pick up a few more scalps this time.
Giles White, Hampshire’s director of cricket, sounded upbeat about the re-signing of Afridi and said:
“He’s been an important part of our success in the short form of the game in previous seasons and we feel his talents fit well with the current squad.”
Afridi has retired from international cricket but he has been an integral part of T20 leagues around the world including his own country’s Pakistan Super League, in which he scored 177 runs from eight innings, but importantly, with a strike-rate almost touching 175.
Unfortunately for his Peshawar Zalmi, his two wickets in the tournament did not help his cause and he also ended up with a finger injury that prevented him from playing in the final. The Zalmis won the title by beating the Quetta Gladiators.
The NatWest T20 Blast begins from July 7 this season and will see Hampshire opening their campaign against Glamorgan on the first day away from home.
Interestingly, despite a poor campaign last season from Hampshire, bet365 are offering 10/1 for them to win the T20 Blast title. That could be down to their finely balanced squad and the fact they have the experience of winning the NatWest T20 Blast in the past as well – having done that twice already.