By Bipin Dani
Pakistani all-rounder Shahid Afridi will captain the Galle Gladiators franchise at the Lanka Premier League (LPL), team manager Azam Khan said.
The 40-year-old Afridi has replaced the team's first choice captain Sarfraz Ahmed, who withdrew to join the national team that will travel to New Zealand on Monday.
The decision to appoint Afridi as captain was taken after speedster Lasith Malinga also pulled out.
"Afridi is arriving in Sri Lanka on 23rd and we are hoping he will be able to lead the team in the first match against the Jaffna Stallions on November 27,” Khan said. “He will undergo tests in Pakistan and we are hoping that after undergoing tests in Sri Lanka, he will be able to play after three days of isolated quarantine.”
Afridi could not travel with the other members of his team and coach Moin Khan because his youngest daughter had taken ill.
"Yes, Afridi has been training in Karachi and he will interact with the others in the team a day before the match.”
Galle's mentor Wasim Akram is also yet to arrive in Sri Lanka.
"We are also hoping he will be here soon,” Khan said.
"We have also included Waqas Maqsood in the squad," he further added.
Meanwhile, Jaffna Stallions have replaced Ravi Bopara with another overseas player.
"West Indian Johnson Charles has signed a contract as the sixth overseas player of the team," Stallions’ team official Ganeshan Vaheesan said.
"Another local player Prabath Jayasuriya has been added".
All five teams have been asked to have 22 players out of which four are to remain in reserve pools.
Zimbabwean Brendan Taylor has joined the Kandy Tuskers franchise in place of Chris Gayle, while it is understood that Kamran Akmal, who was to represent the Dambulla Viiking has pulled out due to injury. "Kamran Akmal has a neck injury and on medical advice he has pulled out. WeWill announce his replacement shortly," Vikiing team manager Manvi Dhodhi said.
"Shoaib Malik is arriving from Dubai by Emirates flight (EK 648) and will reach Colombo at 11.30 pm," a Jaffna Stallions team source said. Medical people will conduct his PCR and other tests before he goes to Hambantota in a transport arranged by the SLC.
Irishman Paul Stirling is also expected to reach the island over the next few days. He is set to represent the Dambulla Viiking franchise. Pakistani batsman Shoaib Malik is also expected in Sri Lanka later today.