County news May 4, 2012

Essex eye Shakib signing

Shakib Al Hasan, currently ranked as the world's best allrounder in Test and ODI cricket, is poised to make a return to the county game.

Shakib, 24, a former Bangladesh captain, has enjoyed previous stints in county cricket with Worcestershire, but will not be returning to New Road. Essex are one of the leading candidates for his signature. "He is one of the names we are considering," Paul Grayson, the Essex head coach said, "but nothing is finalised."

Shakib had originally planned to take a break after the IPL, where he is playing for Kolkata Knight Riders, but writing in Prothom Alo, the Bangladesh newspaper, he said his renewed appetite for the game had convinced him to return for another stint of county duty.

"Before I came to IPL, I had thought that I won't be playing country cricket," Shakib wrote. "I have played a lot of cricket in the last year, so I needed a bit of rest. But that rest which I had craved seems to be going away from me once again. I have a call-up from county cricket. I hope it will be finalised in two to four days, but not for Worcestershire, if I play this year it will be for a new team.

"The reason I had to retract from my initial decision of not playing county is to let myself play matches. After the Asia Cup, we got a long break so I feel rather than taking rest, it is better to play some cricket. Still I'm looking for a gap in the schedule so that I can take a 15-20 days uninterrupted break from the game. Even this sort of a break has become very important for me."

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo