Imad Wasim joins Nottinghamshire for Vitality Blast stint

Imad Wasim is thrilled after getting rid of Rahmat Shah IDI via Getty Images

Imad Wasim, the Pakistan spin-bowling allrounder, has signed for Nottinghamshire as an overseas player for their Vitality Blast campaign. He will be available immediately, going into the squad for Friday night's game against Derbyshire.

Ranked second among T20I bowlers by the ICC, Wasim has been an integral figure in Pakistan's rise to the top of the team rankings in the format, and has an economy rate of just 6.28 in T20 cricket over the course of his career.

"With the nature of the international schedule, it's a very difficult market in which to sign overseas players - far more difficult than it used to be," Nottinghamshire director of cricket, Mick Newell, said. "With Imad becoming available on the back of the World Cup, we acted as quickly as possible to secure him.

"The paperwork and clearances have taken a little bit of extra time, meaning we've had to start the tournament without him. But it's good to now be welcoming him into the squad ahead of the next fixture against Derbyshire.

"He brings an additional spin-bowling option that we think we can benefit from and he'll strengthen our middle-order batting as well. With the venue we've got here at Trent Bridge and with the level of support we get here now, we are an attractive proposition to overseas cricketers."

Imad joins compatriots Faheem Ashraf, Babar Azam, Mohammad Amir and Fakhar Zaman to become the fifth Pakistan international with a contract for the Blast this season, though Zaman's Glamorgan debut was delayed by visa issues and Amir has still to feature for Essex due to a similar issue.

Nottinghamshire, who won the competition in 2017, were the favourites for the title this season, but started their campaign with a defeat against holders Worcestershire and a washout against Yorkshire before getting back on track with victory over Northamptonshire.

Imad will fill the club's second overseas slot, alongside captain Dan Christian. Notts had previously suggested Christian would be their only overseas signing for the Blast, but a serious knee injury to allrounder Steven Mullaney meant they swooped for reinforcement.

"I can't wait to represent the Outlaws in T20 cricket," Imad said. "Trent Bridge is a wonderful ground with fans who are passionate and knowledgeable.

"They were a generous audience during the One-Day International earlier this year and Trent Bridge under floodlights looked amazing.

"My aim is to contribute to the Outlaws going all the way. They did it in 2017 and we have an exciting squad with lots of international talent that's capable of doing it again."

This will be Imad's first stint in the county game, though he has previously played club cricket for several different teams in England, including Papplewick, Burnley and Bradshaw. He will be available for the whole of the Blast, barring a two-game break at the end of August for his upcoming wedding.

He was only picked in six of Pakistan's eight World Cup games, but ended the tournament with 162 runs at a strike rate of 118.24, and was his team's most economical bowler.