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Naseem Shah, Pakistan's teenage tearaway fast bowler, has signed for Gloucestershire to play in the County Championship and T20 Blast as an overseas player.
Naseem, 18, has played nine Tests since his debut against Australia in November 2019, the most recent coming against New Zealand 12 months ago.
He is one of Gloucestershire's three confirmed overseas signings for 2022, with two permitted in each playing XI across competitions. Marcus Harris, the Australia opener, has signed an all-formats deal, while Naseem's compatriot Zafar Gohar will be on a pay-as-you-play deal for the early months of the season before moving to a full contract after Naseem's departure.
Naseem is due to be available for the first half of the Championship season and the group stages of the Blast, which are expected to run until early July. He could return earlier if called up for Pakistan's rescheduled ODI series against West Indies in June, which is due to impact the availability of several players with county contracts for 2022 including Shaheen Shah Afridi (Middlesex) and Mohammad Rizwan (Sussex).
"I'm extremely happy to be joining Gloucestershire and can't wait to experience playing in English cricket for the first time," Naseem said. "I'm excited for what we can achieve as a team next season and will use all my skills to help Gloucestershire challenge for silverware across all formats."
Gloucestershire are due to play in Division One of the Championship for the first time since 2005, following their promotion in 2019 which has been delayed for two years by the Covid-19 pandemic. They recently announced the appointments of Steve Snell and Dale Benkenstein as their performance director and head coach respectively, and are due to appoint a new captain in the coming months.
"Naseem Shah is a fantastic talent and we're thrilled that he's decided to come and join us for next season," Snell said. "Naseem will bring further depth to our pace-bowling department and will provide exciting competition for places in our seam-bowling ranks.
"I have heard fantastic things about Naseem's attitude and his willingness to stand up in the tough moments in games. I've got no doubt that Naseem, with the quality he has, will give us a great chance of achieving success."