Shahid Afridi

Afridi’s team, Peshawar Zalmi, won the PSL this year, but he missed the final, held at Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore, because of a finger injury. © Getty Images

Shahid Afridi, the former Pakistan allrounder, is set to return for a third spell with Hampshire after signing on the dotted line to take part in this season’s Twenty20 Blast, the club said on Thursday (May 19).

Afridi, the 37-year-old former captain of Pakistan, is a big-hitting if inconsistent batsman and also a highly effective legspinner in cricket’s shortest format, with his 97 wickets in 98 matches a Twenty20 International record.

Afridi’s previous stints with Hampshire were in 2011 and 2016. Last season, he finished with 191 runs at 17.36 and picked up nine wickets with an economy rate of 6.22 in 11 games. He was also key in helping the county reach the finals of the domestic T20 competition in 2011.

Giles White, the club’s director of cricket, said, “We’re thrilled to welcome Shahid back to the club for the coming T20 Blast campaign. He’s been an important part of our success in the short form of the game in previous seasons and we feel his talents fit well with the current squad.

“He’s come off the back of a very good Pakistani Super League, certainly with the bat, which bodes well. Obviously with the ball he’s shown his quality over the years and hopefully he remains the high-quality allrounder that we expect.”

Afridi’s team, Peshawar Zalmi, won the PSL this year, but he missed the final, held at Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore, because of a finger injury. However, in the ten matches he played, he hit 177 runs at 25.28 with a strike rate of 173.52, and took two wickets.

Afridi also created a flutter off the field, announcing his retirement from international cricket during the group stage of PSL in February.