County news January 22, 2010

Hampshire sign Kabir Ali

Cricinfo staff

Hampshire have completed the signing of Kabir Ali, following Worcestershire's decision to release him from the final season of his contract after a long-standing dispute.

"Hampshire is a fantastic club with great ambition on and off the field and I am really excited about joining them," said Kabir. "I have been working very hard on my fitness this winter and feel confident that I can play a major role for the Team this summer.'

The decision brings to an end an acrimonious stand-off between Kabir and Worcestershire, whom he had asked for permission to move to Hampshire on a three-year deal following the club's relegation from the first division of the County Championship. But, with his contract at New Road not yet fulfilled, Worcestershire asked for a £60,000 compensation to be paid by the club that signed him.

As no county was prepared to do so, Kabir was due to remain at Worcestershire for the 2010 season, despite the departures of other big names such as Stephen Moore, Gareth Batty and Steven Davies. In October Mark Newton, Worcestershire's chief executive, said "Kabir has already told us that if he remained with the club he would give 100% next season and we know that he will."

Yet as the season drew closer, the dispute had clearly not been resolved as Kabir failed to turn up to the pre-season training. Kabir defended his actions saying: "I was entitled to have 12 days annual leave and I took them. I never refused to train." Yet, with no sign of resolution, Worcestershire decided to release him. "Kabir has been with the club for 10 years and we are very sorry to see him go," said the club's chief executive, Mark Newton.

Hampshire, however, are delighted to have landed a bowler who has captured 429 first-class wickets at an impressive strike-rate of 44.8. 'I am thrilled that Kabir has confirmed that he will be joining Hampshire," said the first-team coach, Giles White. "His domestic record is superb and he will be a huge asset to the side. We hope that he will bring further success to the Club and in doing so reignite his international career.'

Hampshire's chairman, Rod Bransgrove, said: "Kabir is a dangerous and exciting cricketer and I am delighted that he has chosen to re-ignite his career here at Hampshire. Our squad is coming together nicely with a great blend of youth and experience and, with the new developments at The Rose Bowl well under way, this is a fantastic time to be a supporter of Hampshire Cricket.'

The man himself tried to draw a line under the acrimonious end to his time at New Road saying: "I enjoyed my time at Worcestershire immensely and have made a lot of good friends. But the club were going through a difficult time with players leaving and I needed a fresh challenge."