Afridi to lead World XI at Lords fund-raiser

Pakistan’s flamboyant all-rounder Shahid Afridi will lead the ICC World XI in an exhibition Twenty20 International against West Indies after Eoin Morgan was ruled out of the May 31 game with a fractured finger.

All the proceeds from the fund-raiser at the Lord’s will be used to redevelop stadia in the Caribbean, damaged due to hurricanes last year.

“Shahid Afridi will captain the ICC World XI in the absence of Eoin Morgan,” the International Cricket Council tweeted.

Morgan suffered the injury while fielding at backward point during a Middlesex game against Somerset at Taunton on Sunday as a ball caught him on the top of the ring finger on his right hand.

After the blow caused a bruise, Morgan was sent for a precautionary x-ray which revealed a crack.

Former Pakistan skipper Afridi represented his country in over 500 international matches and famously broke the record for the fastest ODI century in his maiden international innings as a 16-year-old, blazing his way to a 37-ball hundred.

Morgan’s compatriot Sam Billings will take his place in the squad. Surrey all-rounder Sam Curran and England fast bowler Tymal Mills were also added to the World XI squad.

“It’s a great honour to be leading the ICC World XI side, that too for such a good cause. I’m sure all the players from either side are looking forward to the match with great enthusiasm and people will get to see some high-quality cricket on Thursday,” Afridi wrote on his twitter handle.

Earlier, seamer Mohammad Shami replaced all-rounder Hardik Pandya, who pulled out due to a viral infection. Shami joined Dinesh Karthik as the second India player in the side which also includes one player each from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka, and two players each from New Zealand and Pakistan. (PTI)