Shoaib Malik to make Gloucestershire return

Shoaib Malik, the Pakistan allrounder, is to return to Gloucestershire next season as one of their overseas players.

Malik impressed in the two Championship matches and three National League games he played in last summer, when he deputised for Ian Harvey, who was on international duty at the time.

An aggressive batsman and a handy offspiner, Malik, 21, has so far played five Tests and 53 one-day internationals. He has scored two ODI hundreds, against West Indies and New Zealand, and has a Test-best of 4 for 42. He also played in all three games of the NatWest Challenge against England earlier this year, taking 3 for 26 in the opening game at Old Trafford.

"I look forward to helping Gloucestershire win things and being part of the new set up," Malik said, and Mark Alleyne, Gloucestershire's new head coach, was just as pleased with the news. "Shoaib did very well for us last year in the short time he was with us and fitted in very well," he said. "He is a gifted all-rounder who is worthy of a place in either discipline and as a 21 year old, he can only get better and I am really pleased at having him in my squad."