Desert Vipers, the runners-up of International League (IL) T20 season 1, have signed Pakistani pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi for the second edition.
Shaheen is one of the most popular pacers in modern-day cricket, having a strong ability to take wickets in his first over.
Since his T20I debut in 2018, Shaheen has made phenomenal progress across formats. In 2021, he was adjudged the ICC Player of the Year and earned the Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy – the biggest ICC annual award for a cricketer.
The left-arm pacer led Lahore Qalandars to back-to-back title triumphs in the Pakistan Super League (PSL). Under his captaincy, Qalandars won PSL in 2022 and 2023 consecutively to become the first team in the league to defend its title.
His international wickets tally stands at 239 (105 Tests, 70 ODIs and 64 T20Is).
"I am excited to join the Desert Vipers. I know there are many Pakistan cricket fans in the UAE, and I hope they will support our team in the upcoming DP World ILT20," Shaheen, the global star, said.
It must be noted here that Shaheen had an offer of captaincy in the inaugural edition of the ILT20. But, the then-PCB chairman Ramiz Raja refused to allow Pakistan players to participate in the league.
Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan were also offered a whopping USD 900,000 alongside a three-year captaincy contract before the inaugural edition of ILT20.
Fakhar Zaman and Mohammad Hasnain were also in demand for the league. Later on, wicketkeeper batter Azam Khan was even picked up by the Vipers but he didn't get No-Objection Certificate (NOC).
Dubai Capitals, Abu Dhabi Knight Riders, MI Emirates, Sharjah Warriors, Gulf Giants, and Vipers competed in the inaugural edition of the ILT20. Giants, under the leadership of Colin Munro, beat Vipers in the final to lift the trophy on February 12 this year.
Next year's ILT20 will be bigger and better as the league management is making sure the signing of more international stars. The list of foreign cricketers will be unveiled soon.