CAPE TOWN – Former South African batsman Herschelle Gibbs has been appointed coach of the Speenghar Tigers in the Shpageeza Cricket League (SCL), Afghanistan’s premier Twenty20 tournament.
Gibbs will coach a formidable Tigers unit captained by erstwhile Pakistan skipper Shahid Afridi, who recently struck a maiden century in the shortest form of professional cricket for Hampshire against Derbyshire in the T20 Blast.
“I will be playing in the Afghan T20 league, supporting and promoting peace through cricket,” Afridi told Sport Star, while Gibbs confirmed: “Yes, I will be joining the Speenghar Tigers as the coach.”
The 43-year-old Gibbs’ former Proteas teammates Jacques Kallis and Graeme Smith are also fashioning careers as coaches across Twenty20 cricket’s global landscape.
Kallis was a mentor at the Kolkata Knight Riders and Sydney Thunder in the Indian Premier League and Australia’s Big Bash League respectively, while Smith will coach the Benoni Zalmi in South Africa’s inaugural T20 Global League – where Kallis will be in charge of the Cape Town Knight Riders.
The six-team Shpageeza Cricket League will start in Kabul on September 12, and see the Tigers compete alongside the Boost Defenders, Band-e-Amir Dragons, Mis Ainak Knights, Kabul Eagles and Amo Sharks for the coveted title.
The tournament was originally scheduled for July, but a bomb blast in the host city forced a two-month delay.
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“Afridi will come to play in Kabul. Only those Pakistani cricketers who have central contracts might not be available because of international commitments. The rest will come. We have also got West Indies and Bangladesh players,” added Afghanistan Cricket Board chairman Atif Mashal.
Pakistan quintet Sohail Tanvir, Babar Azam, Umar Akmal, Kamran Akmal and Abdul Razzaq, Zimbabwe duo Sean Williams and Hamilton Masakadza, as well as Bangladesh pair Tamim Iqbal and Imrul Kayes, were among the stars purchased during May’s player auction.
Former New Zealand and Afghanistan coach Andy Moles, who was most recently in charge of South Africa’s South Western Districts, is reportedly a coach in the Shpageeza Cricket League too.
Highveld Lions bowling coach Gordon Parsons, meanwhile, will work with the Amo Sharks.
African News Agency (ANA)