Hampshire has re-signed former Pakistan all-rounder Shahid Afridi for the upcoming Natwest Twenty20 Blast. The English club, on Thursday (May 18), confirmed the news that the swashbuckling all-rounder has joined them for his third spell at the Ageas Bowl. The 37-year old previously represented Hampshire in 2011, helping them to reach the semi-final before returning in 2016 where the club finished a disappointing eighth in the South Group. Afridi, meanwhile, had a decent outing last season as he scored 191 runs and took nine wickets in 11 T20 matches.

Giles White, Hampshire’s director of cricket, was delighted with the inclusion of Afridi in the team.

“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,” he told BBC Radio Solent.

Afridi, who had played a pivotal role in helping Pakistan win their maiden World T20 title in England in 2009, last featured in the shortest format of the game during the second edition of Pakistan Premier League. With 177 runs in 10 matches at an astonishing strike rate of 173.52 in addition to taking a couple of wickets at a very impressive economy of 6.75, Afridi played a big part in Peshawar Zalmi’s march to the final but missed the title-decider with a finger injury. His absence did not make much of a difference as Zalmi had gone on to lift the title but the maverick all-rounder soon ended his ties with the franchise, stating that he would play for another team in the next season.

“He’s a great fit for us in T20, a big-hitting all-rounder adds to what we’ve got,” White added. “He’s come off the back of a very good Pakistani Super League, certainly with the bat, which bodes well. Obviously with the ball he’s shown his quality over the years and hopefully he remains the high-quality all-rounder that we expect.

“He forms a very good partnership with [Liam] Dawson and being an all-rounder gives us the option of playing an extra bowler – maybe a [Mason] Crane as a trio of spinners,” White said.

The highest wicket-taker in T20 internationals, Afridi announced his retirement from international cricket earlier this year.  He represented Pakistan in 98 T20 International matches, amassing 1,405 runs in addition to picking 97 wickets.

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