Saturday, January 16, 2021

Shahid Afridi misses flight to Sri Lanka, likely to miss two LPL matches

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Galle Gladiators captain Shahid Afridi will miss at least the first two matches of his team’s Lanka Premier League (LPL) campaign, after missing his flight to Sri Lanka on Monday.

Afridi tweeted about missing his flight, which had been set for morning, and went on to say that he will be “reaching soon to take part in the LPL”. Although details of his next attempted flight to Sri Lanka have not been firmed up, Gladiators have said they hope he can arrive by Wednesday. The team also confirmed he will be unavailable for their first two matches. Once Afridi gets to Sri Lanka, he will have to undergo a three-day isolated quarantine, plus likely several further days of a less stringent quarantine, before he joins the league’s biosecure bubble.

This is the second substantial inconvenience Gladiators have had to suffer over the past week. Lasith Malinga, who had originally been slated to captain the side, had withdrawn from the tournament at short notice last week, citing lack of preparation. Former Pakistan captain Sarfaraz Ahmed, who had previously been lined up for the captaincy, had also become unavailable after being picked to tour New Zealand with the national team.

In the absence of these senior players, vice-captain Bhanuka Rajapaksa is likely to lead Gladiators through the early games of their campaign. The team’s first match is against Jaffna Stallions on November 27, and they have another game – against Colombo Kings – the following day.

The LPL is set to begin the day before Gladiators’ first match, on November 26. All matches will be played in Sooriyawewa stadium, near Hambantota.

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