LONDON: Paceman Shaheen Shah Afridi hopes Pakistan will reap the benefits of their players’ involvement in English county cricket as he prepares for his home debut with Middlesex.
The young bowler is one of 10 Pakistani cricketers who have signed as overseas players for at least part of the 2022 season.
The high-profile contingent also includes fellow internationals Mohammad Abbas, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Shan Masood, Azhar Ali and Mohammad Rizwan.
“I think, this year, I saw like nine or 10 players here and that’s good for Pakistan cricket,” Afridi said Wednesday, on the eve of Middlesex’s County Championship match against Leicestershire at Lord’s.
Since the 2019 World Cup in England and Wales, Pakistan have been frequent visitors to England despite the coronavirus pandemic.
In 2020 they lost a three-match Test series 1-0 and drew a Twenty20 campaign 1-1, while last year Pakistan were beaten 3-0 in a one-day international campaign and went down 2-1 in a T20 contest.
Left-arm fast bowler Afridi, 22, said the team had under-performed.
“We played not good cricket here as a team, so now I think the top guys are all there,” he said. “So maybe it will be good for us (to get to know) the conditions and the pitches. Maybe this will help the national team as well.”
Pakistan players have long been familiar to fans of English domestic cricket.
Asif Iqbal (Kent), batting great Zaheer Abbas (Gloucestershire) and star all-rounder Imran Khan (Sussex), recently ousted as Pakistan’s prime minister, all became familiar figures on the county scene from the 1960s onwards.