February 16, 2010

Offbeat

Afridi to Fly Emirates

Liam Brickhill

In an amazing coup, Fly Emirates XI – a team of amateurs who juggle cricket with busy jobs - have recruited Shahid Afridi in a bid to claim a shock victory at the inaugural Emirates Airline Twenty20 competition.

The talismanic ball-biting allrounder will be lining up alongside porters, pursers, check-in staff, baggage handlers and cargo operators as they attempt to upset the odds against some of South Africa and England’s most talented Twenty20 players, with Cape Cobras, Surrey Lions and Sussex Sharks also due to take part.

“It is going to be a tough challenge, but I am looking forward to it immensely,” said Afridi. “I always enjoy my time in Dubai and am very excited about playing in the first ever Emirates Airline Twenty20 tournament. I know there is a real passion among cricket fans in the UAE and it will be great to play in front of them.”

Nigel Fernandez, the 32-year-old Fly Emirates XI captain who works as an Airport Services Supervisor is delighted his team will get the opportunity to learn from such a naturally-gifted player. “I can’t believe that Shahid Afridi will be playing for us,” he said. “He is among the best players in the world at the moment and to have him alongside us will give us great confidence. He is a player I greatly admire. He is a natural talent who can win matches singlehandedly. It will be an incredible experience for everyone in the team and a real honour to line up beside him.”

Liam Brickhill is a freelance journalist based in Cape Town

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