Top Pakistan cricketers are looking to showcase their Twenty20 skills at the inaugural edition of the Sri Lanka Premier League (SLPL) later this summer.
Leading the list of Pakistani players roped in by Sri Lanka is the flamboyant Shahid Afridi, who has accepted an offer to lead one of the SLPL franchises.
"I've accepted an offer to be captain of one of the team in the Sri Lankan Premier League. It's a good opportunity and I will try to make the most of it," Afridi was quoted as saying in The News Wednesday.
Afridi said he has also received a similar offer to lead one of the franchises at the Bangladesh's Premier League, adding that he is looking forward to that assignment as well.
The Pakistan captain revealed that he has agreed on a three-year contract and will receive $35,000 for the inaugural SLPL season. The amount will double in 2012.
The Pakistan skipper is not the only player from his country to have signed a contract with SLPL. Other players who have joined the league include Pakistan's Test captain Misbah-ul-Haq, Shoaib Akhtar, Abdul Razzaq, Umar Gul and Umar Akmal.
"There is a comfortable window for us (Pakistan's cricketers) to feature in the league in Sri Lanka," said Afridi. "We have a sufficient break from international cricket this summer."
Afridi will go to Sri Lanka from England where he will be playing for Hampshire for their Friends Provident T20 campaign. He will become Hampshire's second overseas player for the tournament alongside Imran Tahir, the Pakistan-born South African spinner.
"There is a two-week break from the Hampshire assignment and I will use it to play in Sri Lanka," said Afridi.
Afridi and his teammates have been shunned by the organisers of the lucrative Indian Premier League (IPL) though several of them did feature in the inaugural edition of the event.
Afridi said he is pleased that Sri Lanka would be hosting its own Twenty20 league. He is hopeful that other major cricket-playing nations will follow suit.
The inaugural SLPL will span over 18 days with seven teams featuring in the inter-provincial competition. Apart from Pakistani players, other international stars confirmed for the event are Kieron Pollard, Chris Gayle, Daniel Vettori, Daniel Christian, Herschelle Gibbs and Kevin O'Brien.