Shahid Afridi back in running for T20 Big Bash


The on-again-off-again Pakistan captain Afridi put himself back into the marketplace this week with yet another retirement from the international game.

Gayle, whose relationship with his own board is as tempestuous as his subcontinental opponent, has been left out of the West Indies Twenty20 and one-day teams for the tour of India.

The eight sides in this season's Big Bash are likely to be allowed four contracted Australian players and four internationals, but with only two of the latter in the team at any time. Gayle, Afridi, Kieron Pollard and Lasith Malinga are all understood to be on the minds of the eight city-based teams. All have played in the Big Bash before.

Stuart Clark, general manager of the Sydney Sixers, agreed he would be interested in speaking to these players for his side, which is based at the SCG.

"I hadn't thought about Afridi until I heard on the radio that he had quit," Clark told The Australian. "We would be interested depending on what he wants. If he wants to come here, I am willing to talk to him."

Afridi, who is one of the most explosive batsmen in the world, played for South Australia in the Big Bash two years ago and impressed all.

"He was excellent and all the reports were that he was brilliant among the team," Clark said.
Afridi's falling out with Pakistan enables him to play in the Sri Lankan, English county and Australian Twenty20 competitions.

A number of other states indicated their interest in Gayle and Afridi yesterday.
Cricket Victoria chief executive Tony Dodemaide said neither of the Melbourne-based sides had signed anybody yet.

Nobody can proceed with recruiting until the central player contracts are worked out between Cricket Australia and the Australian Cricketers Association. There is another meeting scheduled this week to hopefully finalise the protracted negotiations.

Afridi's exit from Pakistan follows his decision to retire from the Test captaincy in July last year during the series against Australia.

"I will not play under this board," he said. "If a different board comes in, I will definitely return. When you have been humiliated like this, by dishonourable people, what is the point in playing on?

"The way I've been treated . . . the future doesn't look too good. I can't play under a board that doesn't respect its players. Because of this, under protest, this is a conditional retirement."

Afridi was recently removed as one-day captain after a clash with coach Waqar Younis.
Big Bash sides qualify for the lucrative Twenty20 Champions League but the spoils seem to be slow coming for states who have done well in the past.

This year, Cricket Australia stepped in and used its own funds to ensure that players from South Australia and Victoria were not left out of pocket because of problems getting the payments from the subcontinent.

Yesterday, The Australian learned that while the participation fees have been received there is still a hold-up with the prizemoney.

South Australia and Victoria have been owed $700,000 since the tournament, which was held in South Africa last September. NZ's Central District's side is also owed $200,000.

A Cricket Australia spokesman said that the payments were waiting to be cleared from an Indian bank. The competition is owned jointly by the boards of Indian, South African and Australian cricket.

Kiwi Cricket Players Association chief Heath Mills said it was "a disgraceful situation".

He warned players would be reluctant to take part in future tournaments including this year's, scheduled for October, if the pay issue wasn't addressed immediately.

The winner of New Zealand's HRV Cup qualifies for the tournament each year along with top teams from Australia, Sri Lanka, the West Indies, South Africa and India.

OTHER countries' player problems are Australian cricket's potential gain as local Big Bash teams contemplate the availability of Shahid Afridi and Chris Gayle for this season's competition.

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