County news November 18, 2013

Zaidi signs two-year Sussex deal

ESPNcricinfo staff

Ashar Zaidi, the Karachi-born allrounder, has signed a two-year contract with Sussex. Zaidi appeared in two Championship matches for the county last season, having played in the Lancashire League since leaving Pakistan. He has a British passport and will provide Sussex with a spin option next season, after the release of Monty Panesar.

Zaidi wrote to several counties asking for a trial, having impressed during three seasons with Accrington. He scored an unbeaten 192 and took six wickets after being invited to play for the Sussex 2nd XI and then added 62 runs in two innings to go with six wickets during Division One games against Yorkshire and Durham.

"It is an honour to sign for Sussex and this is a really big achievement for me, especially after a few years' break from the pro game," Zaidi said. "I'm really grateful for the chance that they have given me.

"I'll be aiming to justify that chance over the next couple of seasons. I'm hoping for enough opportunities to perform, and to open my chances for the future."

The 32-year-old made his debut for Islamabad in 1999, playing regularly in Pakistan's domestic competitions until 2009, during which time he was also picked for Pakistan A. He has 11 first-class hundreds and a batting average of 38.26 and his left-arm spin will come in useful at Sussex, where Will Beer, the 25-year-old legspinner, was left as the senior slow bowler after Panesar's departure. Zaidi has also recently turned out for Gazi Tank in the Dhaka Premier Division.

Sussex's captain, Ed Joyce, said: "Ash fitted into the squad really well and impressed everyone with his canny left-arm spin and attractive strokeplay. He will hopefully fulfil the spin role for us in four-day cricket while possibly also allowing us to play an extra seamer when the conditions suit.

"He is also a very capable one-day cricketer as seen by his recent performances in the Dhaka Premier League and we're hopeful he can play a big role for us in both the shorter formats."