Pakistan cricket superstar Shaheen Shah Afridi was welcomed to Blackburn as he made a surprise visit to the town earlier this week.

The 6ft 6ins fast bowler, who has been one of the stand-out players for Pakistan in recent years in both Test and white ball cricket, visited the Heavenly Desserts restaurant in Sudell Cross, during a visit to the town.

Shaheen, 24, was welcomed by cricket fans and staff at the town centre dessert parlour, where he posed for selfies with young cricket supporters and spoke to people about his career.

The son-in-law of legendary cricketer Shahid 'Boom Boom' Afridi, he debuted for Pakistan at 18 and briefly served as T20 captain over the winter.

He was in the UK following a dismal showing by his nation at the ICC Twenty20 Cricket World Cup in the USA and West Indies, where they suffered an embarrassing Super Over loss to the USA and also were beaten by arch-rivals India to crash out in the group stages.

Shabaz Akber, from Heavenly Desserts, said: “Shaheen is a good friend and it was lovely for him to visit Blackburn town centre.

“He loved the experience. He really enjoyed the desserts and joins a host of celebrities that have visited Heavenly Desserts in Blackburn in recent years.”

Shabaz said Shaheen is hoping to return to the town.

(Image: Nq/LT) Shaheen meets fans at Heavenly Desserts Blackburn

Heavenly Desserts, which was founded in 2008, was one of the first specialist dessert companies to be launched in the UK. 

The Blackburn franchise was the first new restaurant to open in Sudell Cross in 2018, which has since seen the launch of a number of plush ventures to open in the area including Torro's and Saffron Street.

The chain also opened a site in Burnley last year.