By Srian Obeyesekere
Pakistani Shahid Afridi, who skippers Galle Gladiators following the pulling out of Lasith Malinga, will indeed infuse to the historic Lanka Premier League (LPL) that sense of foreign clout that is the expectant lending fire power the nature of the local version of the Indian Premier League to such a mega tournament. A crowd-puller the world over as a basher of the ball that has cast him in the spectacular showcased by two of the fastest ODI hundreds, including the fastest one ever in his first innings ever at the age of 16, Afridi will certainly be a top draw decorating the LPL when it unfolds on November 26 at the Mahinda Rajapaksa International Stadium in Sooriyawewa, Hambantota. Afridi will lead from the front in a foursome of Pakistan players Azam Khan, Mohammad Amir and Waqas Maqsood in the starting line-up of Galle Gladiators in addition to Afghanistan’s Hazratullah Zazai and Chadwick Walton of West Indies. The Sri Lanka caps are Danushka Gunathilaka, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Shehan Jayasuriya, Milinda Siriwardana, Akila Dananjaya, Lakshan Sandakan and Asitha Fernando while youngsters Duvindu Tillakaratne, Mohamed Shiraz, Dhananjaya Lakshan and Nuwan Thushara form the rest of the Galle Gladiators cast.
At age 40, the right handed Afridi basks in the spellbinding reputation as one of the most lethal players with the bat who took world cricket by storm by his fastest ODI century world record as a young teen. His career strike rates are nearly unmatched. His presence at the LPL will be a major boost to the side given his all-round potential as a potential wicket taking legbreak-googly bowler.