South Africa domestic news October 3, 2011

Afridi and Razzaq sign for Lions

ESPNcricinfo staff

Pakistan allrounders Shahid Afridi and Abdul Razzaq have signed to play for the Lions franchise in the domestic twenty-over competition in 2012. Both Afridi and Razzaq said they had received interest from more than one South African franchise but chose the Johannesburg-based team.

"My manager received several offers to play in South Africa," Razzaq said. "We made a decision on the Lions due to the fact that I have many friends in Johannesburg and have always enjoyed my time there." Razzaq plays for the Lahore Lions in Pakistan and has a proud domestic Twenty20 record across continents, with 1815 runs at a strike-rate of 142 and 102 wickets at an average of 20.73.

Afridi had played a vital role in Pakistan winning the World Twenty20 title in England in 2009. He retired from international cricket earlier this year but expressed interest in continuing his career and, with Razzaq, signed for the Melbourne Rebels in Australia's Big Bash League. "I am looking forward to my time in South Africa and helping the Lions qualify for next year's Champions league," Afridi said.

The Lions were equally thrilled to have secured the pair as they look to challenge for a domestic title. "I have no doubt that they are a perfect fit for the Lions' style of play - plus they definitely match our team chemistry," Dave Nosworthy, Lions coach said. Chief executive Cassim Docrat said their inclusion was an "investment" and he hoped it will bring long-lasting benefits. "Adding these players to the team will also benefit the exciting mix of youngsters that our squad is boasting this season."

Lions are a rebuilding franchise, after many seasons of underperformance, but they feel this is their season to excel, especially in shorter formats of the game. The only trophy Lions have won is the domestic twenty-over title in the 2006-07 season. They finished as runners-up in last season's tournament and participated in the Champions League at home, but did not qualify for the knockout stages.

Although South African franchises seldom recruited international players for this competition, that trend has changed this season. Dolphins announced the signing of Australian fast bowler Shaun Tait and West Indies batsman Chris Gayle. The competition is scheduled to start on February 15, with Lions' first match on February 17.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on October 4, 2011, 19:52 GMT

    Abdul Razzaq is the best t20 ever, he could open the innings and I think this is the best place for him. His bowling abilities are also sufficeint but Shahid Afridi playes in whatever team the team would never win due to his attitude. He should not be given a chance in Pakistan again and it is proving to be

  • Dummy4 on October 4, 2011, 14:36 GMT

    Afridi , Razzaq , Pollard & Gayle their Cricket boards dont want them :P but WORLD wants them ..

  • Hammad on October 4, 2011, 10:08 GMT

    Shame on PCB chairman and PCB selectors like Mohsin Khan....... World knows the T20 value of these both players but PCB selectors ignoring both players, Shame on PCB and Dummy Chief Selector Mohsin Khan.....

  • ABDUL ALEEM on October 4, 2011, 7:21 GMT

    strange...!!! Mr. Butt drops these gems, but other countries use theri experience....first it was big bash and now SA...... PCB wake up........come out of egoism...and select the all rounders for T20 and ODIs like Razzaq,Afridi, NaveedulHa

  • Amjad on October 4, 2011, 6:38 GMT

    @ sephotrig - Its mentioned in the article that Afridi played a great role when Pakistan won the T-20 title. It didn't Afridi lifted the Cup for Pakistan... Btw, best of luck to Afridi & Razzaq. My team now is Lions !!!!

  • Hammad on October 4, 2011, 6:06 GMT

    Excellent decision by both players and Lions management, Hopefully Lions will play champions league next year, best of Luck Razzaq and Afridi........

  • Dummy4 on October 4, 2011, 5:44 GMT

    Lions have the Best T20 Players they have ever got. I hope they(Afridi & Razzaq) will perform their best.....

  • Dummy4 on October 4, 2011, 4:13 GMT

    Its fantastic for a T20 team to have allrounders like Afridi and Razzaq. You can't have a better match winner then these two. On his day Afridi can win a match on its own and if he failed with the bat he can change the match with the bowl. Do not critisize Afridi, he is an ideal T20 player. With Razzaq you can expect consistency. Razzaq is a role model for any allrounder. He can bat at any number and can win matches against any opposition and in any conditions.

  • Dummy4 on October 3, 2011, 22:19 GMT

    Let's not forget Afridi can get out on a duck and contribute as a pure bowler. His own stupidity is not recognizing his calling sooner, but he did by the 2011 worldcup, as the best bowler of the tournament. Such a man doesn't NEED to bat! @Gupta.Ankur: No doubt they don't have astute business analysts like you! @sephotrig: Younis was captain but Afridi contributed to the victory.

  • Dummy4 on October 3, 2011, 21:38 GMT

    afridi is good for nothing.. he doesnt know how to bat.. infact its so famous that he cant bat that he was bowled out in an advertisement recently ... lolz.. thats his trademark now. poor SA team. they will regret or if they give him more money than he will play well. But razzak is a big loss. he is real champion and pakistan needs him. Actually it was Afridi who ruined Razzak's career in recent world cup by giving him batting at 8th position. He is match winner.

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