County news March 3, 2004

Taylor named as Gloucestershire's captain

Wisden Cricinfo staff

Chris Taylor has been named as Gloucestershire's new captain, and the Pakistan fast bowler Shabbir Ahmed has been signed as their second overseas player, as preparation for the 2004 season gets underway at Bristol.

Taylor, 27, takes over from Mark Alleyne, who has become the new club coach, although he will remain in charge of the one-day team. Taylor only made his county debut in 2001, but according to the club chief executive, Tom Richardson, he has been in their thoughts for some time. "I am thrilled to be given the opportunity to captain the four-day side," said Taylor. "It is an exciting challenge."

Meanwhile Shabbir, 27, who has taken 33 wickets in his six Test matches, will join compatriot Shoaib Malik as Gloucestershire's second overseas player. "Shabbir is an exciting bowler who is well suited to English conditions and I think he will greatly strengthen our side," explained Alleyne. "We are very excited by the prospect of fielding these two Pakistani stars this year. I feel they will feed off each other and, as a pair, they will add great value to what is already an exciting squad."

The only slight concern is that Shabbir's action was reported during a one-day international in New Zealand in January. He is currently working with Daryl Foster in Australia to correct any faults. "We do not anticipate any further problems," said Alleyne. "We greatly look forward to Shabbir having a successful season with us."