Shahid Afridi and the Sharjah Sixes are here

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Are you suffering from a bout of Indian Premier League hangover? Fret not, writes Ahmed Rizvi.

Just drive over to the Sharjah Cricket Stadium.

Shahid Afridi will be there, along with a number of Pakistan’s top stars, such as Abdul Razzaq, Imran Nazir and Faisal Iqbal, to help supply a dose of mighty heaves and monstrous sixes.

If you are an Afghan, there is Shahpur Zadran for you. And you don’t even have to sit through 20 overs to get your fix. They will deliver it in just five.

The inaugural Grand Midwest Sharjah Sixes has brought these stars to the UAE for an exciting carnival of cricket, which has attracted 36 teams, including one from India: Vinayak Ocean Services.

The matches began May 20 and the tournament is reaching the knockout stages, with the finale scheduled for Saturday. “Last night we had a good crowd,” said Mazhar Khan, the honorary secretary of the Sharjah Cricket Council. “If you have Shahid Afridi and Abdul Razzaq playing, definitely the crowds love to see them. It’s a five-over match and people love to come and watch it.

“There’s plenty to cheer as well. Until now, I think we’ve had 288 sixes and we are at the mid-way mark [of the tournament]. On an average, 150 to 180 runs are scored every match.”

Besides the current players, the tournament, which has received an approval from the International Cricket Council, has also managed to snare former Pakistan pace ace Waqar Younis as brand ambassador. Indian spin great Bishen Singh Bedi and Pakistan legend Mushtaq Mohammed are arriving today to lend their support to the event.

“Our dream is to make this tournament bigger than the Hong Kong Sixes, where all the top nations participate and some of the legends of the game play,” said Zafar Shah, chairman of the Grand Midwest Group of Hotels.

“Obviously, we have not been able to provide those kind of players this year, but the tournament has generated a lot of interest and we hope to get more international players in the coming years.”