County news March 9, 2010

Surrey sign Iftikhar Anjum for early season

Cricinfo staff

Surrey have signed Rao Iftikhar Anjum, the Pakistan paceman, as their overseas player to cover for Piyush Chawla, who will be playing in the IPL during the early part of the season.

Iftikhar, 29, has an impressive first-class record, with 388 wickets at 23.87 but has only played one Test for Pakistan, against Sri Lanka almost four years ago. He has featured more regularly in the one-day side, taking 77 wickets from 62 games at an average over 31.

He will join up with Surrey at the start of the 2010 season and be available for the first three County Championship matches of the year against Derbyshire at The Oval; away at Hove against Sussex and the festival match against Worcestershire at Whitgift School.

Surrey have a new captain, 22-year-old Rory Hamilton-Brown, and are looking to bounce back from a difficult season last year that saw them win just one game in Division Two of the Championship. Chris Adams, the Surrey coach, thinks Iftikhar will bring important experience to the early season.

"Signing someone with the experience and proven wicket-taking abilities of Rao Iftikhar will allow us to add a bit of quality to the squad and is very much in line with the signings that we have already made since the end of the 2009 season," said Adams.

"Along with his impressive stats I believe Rao is the type of bowler who will perform well in English conditions and with Pakistan touring later in the year, he has a terrific opportunity to lay down a marker for selection. He can swing the ball well, has a very repeatable action and consistently bowls in the mid to high eighties. We look forward to his arrival."

Surrey have a rich tradition of Pakistani bowlers, with Saqlain Mushtaq and Waqar Younis among the many who have featured at The Oval, and Iftikhar is looking forward to adding him name to that pantheon. "Playing for an English county has long been an ambition of mine and am I very much looking forward to joining Surrey in the coming weeks. Some of the greatest Pakistani bowlers of recent times have played for Surrey and I am honoured to be following in their footsteps."