Galle Gladiators skipper Shahid Afridi is set to return to Pakistan, following a personal emergency, which would leave the captaincy role to Bhanuka Rajapaksa - who is currently the vice-captain. Aftab Alam too has returned home to Afghanistan for personal reasons in the LPL.
After nearly a week of his arrival, Galle Gladiators would be without their skipper Shahid Afridi for their immediate clash against Jaffna Stallions on Thursday. The former Pakistan all-rounder has returned to Pakistan on a ‘personal emergency’ according to the ESPNCricinfo reports. However, the reports also stated that the all-rounder had not informed anything more regarding the incident, which puts a cloud over his involvement in the rest of the tournament.
In his absence, it is likely that Bhanuka Rajapaksa, who is the franchise’s vice-captain will take over the immediate reigns for the upcoming fixtures. The Gladiators are yet to pick up a single point in the league, falling to three losses in their first three fixtures in the inaugural season of the Lanka Premier League. Meanwhile, they would take on the table-toppers in what is a must-win game for them on Thursday.
However, with Shahid Afridi’s previous history with COVID-19, he is not expected to undergo a mandatory seven-day quarantine period on his return to Sri Lanka, with the reports suggesting that an antibody for the virus is present in his body, which prevents him from being prone to the virus. Meanwhile, Afghanistan pacer Aftab Alam has also returned home to Afghanistan for personal reasons.
The pacer, who starred for the Dambulla Viiking’s - picked up one wicket in his previous game while only conceding 22 runs, showing a promise for their bowling side. However, now the Viiking’s would have to play without their foreign star in their next clash against Kandy Tuskers on Friday.