By Bipin Dani
The Galle Gladiators, winless in their first three games of the Lanka Premier League (LPL), were dealt a fresh blow on Wednesday with their captain Shahid Afridi leaving the tournament.
’’Unfortunately I have a personal emergency to attend to back home. I will return to join back my team at LPL immediately after the situation is handled. All the best,’’ he tweeted.
Afridi joined the squad late for the LPL because of his nine-month old daughter's illness, though he played all three of the Gladiators’ games .
"The same daughter is not well again and he will be leaving the hotel in Hambantota at around 7.00 p.m. for Colombo, where he will catch a flight for Karachi at 1.00 a.m.," a team source confirmed.
Afridi hopes to rejoin his team once the situation back home improves but sources in the team management said, "owing to the quarantine regulations, he is most unlikely to return.”
In Afridi's absence, Bhanuka Rajapaksa will lead the team.
Afghanistan pace bowler Aftab Alam has also left the LPL and returned to his country because of his own sickness, it is learnt.
According to sources, the right-arm medium fast bowler, who turned 28 two days ago, left the team hotel on Tuesday itself and has reached Kabul.
The media release sent out by the team management did not specify the reason for his leaving the tournament mid-way and only specified it as personal reasons.
"My brother was not keeping well. All six of his PCR tests were negative but he has Covid-19 symptoms. He has had fever, headache and was unable to eat food,” his brother, Taj Alam, speaking from Afghanistan, said.
"Our 70-year-mother is also not keeping well. She was very much worried about Aftab and therefore my brother had no option but to leave the LPL".
Alam’s only appearance came in Dambulla Viiking’s second match of the tournament against the Jaffna Stallions, as he impressed with his death bowling returning figures of 1-22 in 3 overs.
Dambulla Viiking have won two out of the three matches they have played in the tournament so far, against the Kandy Tuskers and the Colombo Kings respectively.
The team management has so far not decided about his replacement.