They say self-praise is the least deserved but we cant help but be impressed by Pakistani Legspinner, and renowned ball-biter, Shahid Afridi who announced recently that he had launched a cricket club that would bear his name. It takes an extraordinary level of chutzpah to not be content to wait for a Grandstand or oval to be named in your honour but instead create a whole new vehicle for venerating your career.
During my meetings with Mayor John Tory and Premier Kathleen Wynne on my last visit to Canada, they discussed the need to support the development of cricket in Canada and I promised to do something.
It’s important to promote sports among the youth. I am very happy to announce that we have launched Shahid Afridi Cricket Club to compete in TDCA (Toronto & District Cricket Association).
Shahid Afridi – Pakistan Newspaper Dawn
That’s right, the team will be known as Shahid Afridi Cricket Club and it will take the field in Canada! While Afridi himself won’t be available for the team when they take on the likes of Go Green CC, Toronto Eagles, Mississuaga Dolphins and YorkShire CC in Elite Conference 2 of the TDCA, they will be led by Rizwan Cheema, former captain of the Canadian National Team. The big-hitting Cheema, described by Afridi as ‘my kind of player’, will bring a wealth of experience to the new club having represented Canada in 49 internationals.
Shahid Afridi CC is not the end of the former Pakistan Captain’s role in the promotion of cricket in Canada. The 38-year-old has also committed to take part in the Global T20 competition to take place in Canada during July. The tournament, a joint venture between Cricket Canada and the West Indies, will be the first fully ICC sanctioned competition in North America. While Afridi will be one of the big name attractions when the competition kicks off, the competition drafted in the services of a much bigger local attraction when they launched the competition in February – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. On the last leg of a state visit to India, the PM was drafted into the more serious proposition of promoting the newly launched competition in a school there.
While on face value it appeared to be nothing more than a narcissistic venture by Afridi, we can’t help but be impressed after diving deeper. By lending his name to the club he is doing something to try and develop the game in a developing market. As for the Global T20 that he will headline, it has no rules mandating a number of Canadian players in each team, but we hope that will come. Despite this, lets hope that having some of the worlds best players in their backyard will pique their interest in the game. For those keen to follow the trials and tribulations of Shahid Afridi CC in their debut season in the TDCA you can do so here.