County news June 1, 2011

Leicester to sign Razzaq

ESPNcricinfo staff

Leicestershire have agreed on terms to sign Pakistan allrounder Abdul Razzaq for the Friends Life t20 and are awaiting the arrival of his passport from Abu Dhabi - where he sent it to process his UK visa application - before completing the acquisition. Razzaq has received clearance from the PCB to play the tournament and is expected to be available for Leicester's first match, against Northamptonshire on Friday.

This will be the fifth county Razzaq will play for; he has had stints at Hampshire, Middlesex, Surrey and Worcestershire before. Razzaq, as a batsman, is reputed for playing destructive knocks in limited-over matches, but he has had a poor run of form of late. After a whirlwind one-day century against South Africa in Abu Dhabi, he has had a string of low scores running from the series in New Zealand through the World Cup, and he was eventually dropped from the Pakistan squad for the tour of the West Indies.

Nevertheless, Leicester's chief executive Mike Siddall was excited to have someone with the experience of 46 Tests and 262 ODIs joining the county. Leicester disappointed in last year's tournament, losing seven games and missing out on the quarterfinals, but Siddall said the acquisition of Razzaq, and the retention of Andrew McDonald, the Australia allrounder, showed their positive mindset.

"I think this shows our ambition," Siddall said. "We had a little bit of money available with Andrew McDonald going to the IPL. We want to do better than last year in the T20 when we lost seven home matches."

Phil Whitticase, the Leicester coach, said Razzaq's versatility would be an asset. "We are talking about someone who can contribute with the bat and bowl up front or at the death," he said. "We'll probably be looking at him coming in down the order and clearing the boundaries in the final few overs."

Leicester made a record loss of £400,000 last year but are hoping McDonald, who scored 174 runs in the three Twenty20 matches he played for Leicester last year, and Razzaq will draw in the crowds.