Shahid Afridi will return to the scene of his 2009 World T20 starring role in a brief comeback to international cricket after being confirmed among the first group of players in the World XI to face West Indies at Lord’s next month.
The match on May 31 has been arranged to raise money for the rebuilding of stadiums in the Caribbean that were badly damaged Hurricanes Irma and Maria last year.
Afridi, Man of the Match as Pakistan beat Sri Lanka to win the 2009 tournament, played the last of his 98 T20Is in March 2016 and will be joined by former Pakistan team-mate Shoaib Malik, who also played in the final, and Sri Lanka allrounder Thisara Perera.
The five major venues
Ronald Webster Park, Anguilla – damaged in Irma
Sir Viv Richards Stadium, Antigua – temporarily converted to host refugees from Barbuda following Irma
Windsor Park Stadium, Dominica – damaged in Maria
A.O. Shirley Recreation Ground, BVI – damaged in Irma
Carib Lumber Ball Park, St Maarten – damaged in Irma
“I am humbled to have been selected for such a noble cause,” Afridi said. “Cricket is one big family and no matter how hard and tough we play against each other, there is tremendous camaraderie within the group. As such, it is our moral and professional obligation to stand up and support whenever and wherever we can, to assist our members, colleagues and cricket fans.”
Malik said: “As much as the chance of figuring in such a select group, I also see this as an opportunity to contribute in a meaningful cause. We have all heard of the damage caused by the two hurricanes in the West Indies last year and it is really good to see so many cricketers come together for the objective of raising funds to repair the damage to cricket venues.
“That the match is being played at Lord’s makes this event extra special for me. Lord’s obviously is one of the most revered cricket venues but I also have some very delightful memories there. One that really stands out is anchoring the chase along with Shahid Afridi when we beat Sri Lanka in the final to win the ICC World Twenty20 in 2009.”
West Indies, who will be led by Carlos Brathwaite, recently confirmed their squad for the match, with Andre Russell set to make his international return following his doping-code violation.
The World XI will be captained by Eoin Morgan with the remainder of the squad to be named in the coming weeks.