Pakistan allrounder Shahid Afridi has been signed by South Africa's Dolphins for the domestic Twenty20 competition for the 2009-10 season.
This will be a big boost for the domestic team, which lost out on a chance to make the Pro20 finals after losing to the Cobras in the crucial home second and third legs of the semi-finals. Afridi was instrumental in Pakistan's ICC World Twenty20 triumph, turning in Man-of-the-Match performances in both the semi-final and the final.
Jay Naidoo, the Dolphins' manager of playing affairs, confirmed the news. "We are over the moon at having one of the most exciting allrounders in the world of cricket," he told Cricdb.com. "Besides what he offers on the playing field, I am sure he will be of great assistance in developing the younger players in our squad."
This will be his Afridi's second stint in South African domestic cricket, having played for Griqualand West during the 2003-04 season. "I'm really looking forward to playing in such a strong league and God-willing giving my 100% for my team and fans," Afridi told Cricket365. "As far as South Africa is concerned I had a few offers and chose Durban as it has always been a favourite cricketing destination of mine, and I have always enjoyed my times there as indeed I have in South Africa in general.
"Also the chance to play with the Dolphins with players such as Imraan Khan, Hashim Amla and all the rest of the guys and to be coached by Graham Ford was a big factor."
Imraan Khan, captain of the Dolphins, welcomed Afridi's inclusion. "He has been awesome in his last few international tournaments. I am really excited to have him on board and use his knowledge and skills in the team," he said.
Pakistan's tour of Australia will mean that Afridi will miss the Dolphins' first clash against the Titans at Kingsmead on February 3.