County news October 10, 2012

Shahzad signs for Nottinghamshire

Nottinghamshire have signed Ajmal Shahzad on a three-year contract with a view to him opening the bowling and batting at No. 8 in the County Championship next season.

Nottinghamshire, who required a replacement for Darren Pattinson, had hoped to attract James Harris from Glamorgan to Trent Bridge, but he opted to join Middlesex instead. Pattinson has returned to Australian cricket and is only available as an overseas player.

In 2004 Shahzad became the first British-born Asian to represent the Yorkshire but, a month into the 2012 season, the club made him available to other clubs claiming he lacked team spirit. Shahzad joined Lancashire on loan in May and was offered a permanent deal to remain at the club but the lure of Division One cricket and the seamer-friendly pitches of Trent Bridge proved more attractive.

Shahzad has long been regarded as one of the most promising prospects in English cricket but, aged 27, his record is modest. His first-class bowling average of 34.01 with just three five-wicket hauls is disappointing for one so talented, while only three first-class 50s and a batting average of 23.62 hardly reflect his ability. Shahzad has played one Test, 11 ODIs and three Twenty20s for England with his most recent appearance being against Bangladesh at the 2011 World Cup.

"As a seam bowler there is no better ground to play at than Trent Bridge," Shahzad said. "Hopefully playing alongside so many England players and performing well for Notts will put me back in the limelight."

Mick Newell, Nottinghamshire's director of cricket, said: "I spoke to Ajmal at the back end of the season, he's been aware of our interest for some time and we see him as a major signing for all forms of the game. His white ball record in particular is excellent and will give us some experience to replace Darren Pattinson as well as opening the bowling for us in four-day cricket and providing useful runs from the number eight position.

"He's had some experience of international cricket and we'd like to see him get back to that level through some impressive performances for Notts."

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo