County news October 26, 2009

Tahir and Varun Chopra sign for Warwickshire

Cricinfo staff

Warwickshire have signed Imran Tahir, the Pakistani legspinner, as their overseas player for 2010. The county have also signed 22-year-old opener Varun Chopra from Essex in a three-year deal.

Tahir, 30, has taken 382 first-class wickets at an average of 25.89 and 95 List A scalps at 22.85. He joined Hampshire for the 2008 county season and was one of the better overseas signings: he took 96 first-class wickets in two seasons with the county, including 44 in just seven matches to save them relegation in 2008.

Ashley Giles, Warwickshire's director of cricket, welcomed the addition of Tahir to the squad. "He brings with him knowledge and experience that will add much to our young, developing squad," he said. "Not only is his first-class bowling average impressive but his one-day figures are up there with the best. I am sure that Imran will be a valuable addition to our attack next summer".

The phrase journeyman doesn't do justice to Tahir's career which has seen him play for at least 10 teams before he signed for Hampshire and the Titans in South Africa last year.

In contrast, Chopra has been at Essex since he launched his professional career in 2006. He averages a modest 29.63 in 48 first-class matches but has a better limited-overs record, averaging 38.03 in 34 games. Chopra called the decision to leave his home county, where he was offered a two-year deal, "one of the hardest I ever had to make."

He said: "The combination of joining one of the country's biggest clubs, playing at a Test-match ground and working with Ashley Giles was too good an offer to refuse."

Paul Grayson, the Essex coach, was disappointed at losing Chopra. "He is a talented player and an Essex boy. Myself and the club have done a lot of work with him over the last three to four years" he said before outline the reasons for Chopra's departure. "Varun was asking things that we could not guarantee him for next year. He feels his County Championship cricket has not developed as much as he would have liked and wishes to set himself a new challenge out of his current comfort zone."