Hambantota: Former Pakistan big-hitting cricketer Shahid Afridi turned back years as he clobbered 58 off 23 balls in a Lanka Premier League game. Afridi’s knock for Galle Gladiators consisted of three fours and six sixes against a Jaffna Stallions’ pace attack that comprised South African internationals Duanne Olivier and Kyle Abbott, and Sri Lankan internationals Thisara Perera and Binura Fernando.
His team, however, lost match as Avishka Fernando’s 63-ball 92 helped the Jaffna franchise win the match by eight wickets with three balls to spare.
The 40-year-old Afridi, whose actual age has been debated over the years, showed his big-hitting skills once again although he survived a dropped catch in the deep.
The former Pakistan all-rounder, who retired from international cricket in February, 2017, is leading the Galle franchise and played the tournament without completing his quarantine period as he proved to the health authorities that he is immune to Covid-19 because he was infected with it in June and has the anti-bodies.
Meanwhile, the International Cricket Council (ICC) is investigating an alleged attempt to fix Sri Lankan Premier League matches. The complaint alleges a former national cricketer approached a Lanka Premier League player, and is being looked at by the ICC’s Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU), the mass-circulating Lankadeepa said.
“The former national player who allegedly made the approach is currently overseas," the newspaper said, adding that he had once been accused, but later cleared, of match-fixing charges by the ICC.
The ICC said it would not discuss any ongoing investigation. The Sri Lanka board’s anti-corruption unit too declined comment.
The Twenty20 tournament opens Thursday without spectators, but under the close scrutiny of the ICC anti-corruption officials, the national board and the sports ministry.
Last week, Sri Lanka’s former fast bowling coach Nuwan Zoysa said he would appeal a decision of an ICC-appointed tribunal which found him guilty of three offences relating to match-fixing after a two-year investigation.
Cricket-crazy Sri Lanka introduced a law against corruption in sport last year after then-sports minister Harin Fernando had declared that the ICC considered the Indian Ocean island the world’s most corrupt cricket nation.