Islamabad, Pakistan (BBN)– Pakistani cricket star Shahid Afridi will speak out against drug abuse and promote healthy living through sports in his new role as National Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

Mr. Afridi, a batsman and bowler, was captain of the Pakistan national cricket team from 2009 to 2011. He became an overnight sensation in 1996 when, as a 16-year-old, he made history by scoring the fastest century in a one-day international in his very first innings.

“I have never done anything by halves and I will give my all to my new role of National Goodwill Ambassador,” Mr. Afridi said on accepting his two-year assignment.

“I hate to see drugs ruin the lives of young people. If I can convince just one boy or girl to turn away from drugs I will be proud,” he added.

“He plays with heart,” Jeremy Douglas, UNODC Representative in Pakistan, stated in a press statement. “Shahid Afridi is a role model who can speak powerfully against drug abuse. Young people see in him the courage to push away boundaries and the will to go on when things get tough.”

In his new role, Mr. Afridi will promote healthy living through sports and emphasize positive values and attitudes during visits to schools and colleges. He will also witness the impact of the work of UNODC in Pakistan and highlight the need to curb drug abuse and associated crime.

Mr. Afridi, who has roots in Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa Province and lives in Karachi, has been involved in humanitarian efforts in the past, including efforts supporting the emergency response after the catastrophic floods that hit Pakistan in 2010.

BBN/SSR/AD-19Jan12-10:45 am (BST)