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Wednesday, 15 January, 2003, 13:17 GMT
Derbyshire clinch Afridi
Shahid Afridi
Afridi hit a one-day international ton from 37 balls
Derbyshire have signed Pakistan's Shahid Afridi for the first two months of the county season, and the explosive all-rounder could stay on for the rest of the year.

Batsman Nathan Astle is due to become the club's second overseas player, but the New Zealander will be on international duty in April and May.

And a recent knee injury has cast doubt on his participation for the rest of the English summer.

"Derbyshire await a report from New Zealand Cricket before taking any further action on a potential replacement for Astle, or an extension of Afridi's contract," said a statement.

Afridi holds the record for the fastest century in a one-day international, taking just 37 balls to reach three figures against Sri Lanka in Nairobi on debut in 1996/97.

In 14 Tests for Pakistan, he has 780 runs at an average of 32.50, and 21 wickets with his leg-spin bowling.

But he is at his best in the one-day arena, where 3871 runs have come at more than a run a ball.

Afridi enjoyed a half-season with Leicestershire in 2001, after injury to the club's first choice overseas player, Australian Daniel Marsh.

"Being able to sign an exciting cricketer such as Shahid is a further boost to the club, and evidence that high quality players want to join our promising squad," said chief executive John Smedley.

The county also confirmed that Adrian Pierson has agreed to become head coach for 2003.

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