Afridi looking for exposure from stint with Melbourne Renegades
Shahid Afridi, the Pakistan allrounder, has said he views his upcoming stint with the Melbourne Renegades in the Big Bash League as an opportunity to gain exposure and prepare for next year's international assignments. Afridi and Pakistan team-mate Abdul Razzaq have both signed with the Renegades for Australia's new Twenty20 tournament, and Afridi said he was taking the tournament very seriously because he had sacrificed his off season to play in it.
"My commitment with the Big Bash holds a lot of importance because it was an off season for me," he told ESPNcricinfo. "It will not only help me maintain momentum but also give me good preparation considering the tough conditions and strong opponents in Australia."
Afridi goes into the tournament, which starts on December 16, on the back of an impressive year with the ball in which he has taken 45 wickets in 27 ODIs at 20.82, with four five-wicket hauls. He struggled with the bat during the 2011 World Cup but got his highest score of the year, 75, in the third ODI of Pakistan's recent series against Sri Lanka in the UAE. He said he expected his legspin to be effective on Australian pitches but hoped to also contribute with the bat.
"Legspinners can achieve a lot in Australian conditions and I am looking forward to contributing with my bowling," he said. "I've been satisfied with my bowling performance but there is need for improvement in my batting. I am looking to play some good innings."
Razzaq goes into the series after missing the ODIs in Bangladesh due to a shoulder injury he sustained during the series against Sri Lanka. He said he had completely recovered from that and was looking forward to getting back to Twenty20 cricket. Razzaq averaged 29.22 for Leicestershire during the Friends Life t20 in England this summer and said he hoped to find form in the BBL.
"The format is very exciting and familiar but equally tough," Razzaq said. "I picked up an injury last month but I am fine now and looking forward to the Big Bash event. I hope I can find good touch."
Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent