Kabir Ali makes move to Lancashire
Kabir Ali, the former England fast bowler, has joined Lancashire on a two-year deal, attempting to revive a career recently blighted by injury. The signing is the latest change at Old Trafford as Lancashire prepare for life in Division Two of the County Championship.
Kabir, 31, moved to Hampshire in 2010 but has managed just 33 appearances in three years following a serious knee injury and a further ankle problem. A previous ankle injury also prevented him from touring India with England Lions in 2008.
The tour would have been Kabir's comeback into the England set up after 25 wickets in 14 ODI appearances and a solitary Test cap between 2003 and 2006 - an international record that fails to reflect his ability to bowl with pace and his impressive return of 483 first-class wickets at 27.35.
He was initially tipped as a one of the brightest prospects on and off the field - as a part-time model, he was once named among the 50 most eligible bachelors in Britain - and his 11 successful years at Worcestershire included an England ODI debut against Zimbabwe in 2003, with a Test cap following later that summer, but he gradually drifted out of the England selector's thoughts as injury took over his career.
A tough three-years at Hampshire ended in triumph as he held his nerve to secure a dramatic last-ball win in the final of the Clydesdale Bank 40 League in September. He also played the first match at the Champions League T20, but having been out of contract on the south coast, he has moved to his third county to continue his career.
Lancashire will hope his injury problems are behind him. "We are pleased to bring in Kabir whose experience and proven track record in all forms of the game will be of great benefit to our bowling unit," Mike Watkinson, Lancashire director of cricket, said.
Kabir added: "Lancashire is a fantastic Club with a proud history. I am excited at the prospect of working under Peter Moores and his coaching team as well as playing alongside Glen Chapple who is still one of the best in the country. Lancashire has an exciting and emerging squad and I am looking forward to playing my part in the challenges ahead."
It is the first signing of the close season for Lancashire, who were relegated from Division One of the County Championship last season having won their first title in 77 years in 2011. Veteran spinner Gary Keedy left to join Surrey and unsettled seamer Sajid Mahmood was released, having been loaned to Somerset for part of the 2012 season. Lancashire also failed to retain Ajmal Shahzad, who was offered a permanent deal after a loan spell from Yorkshire; he joined Nottinghamshire.
The Red Rose will also welcome new chief executive Daniel Gidney in the new year, who will replace Jim Cumbes. Gidney will be charged with rebuilding the county on and off the field: Old Trafford is undergoing a £12 million upgrade with the first phase, including a developed pavilion, set to be completed in time for the third Ashes Test next summer.
Alex Winter is an editorial assistant at ESPNcricinfo