Nottinghamshire have strengthened their seam-bowling line-up following the close-season loss of Darren Pattinson by signing former Lancashire and Yorkshire all-rounder Ajmal Shahzad on a three-year contract.
Shahzad was released by Yorkshire on-loan to arch rivals Lancashire at the beginning of the 2012 season and impressed, taking 42 wickets for them at an average of 28 in all first-team cricket, and was offered a full contract for 2013.
However, he has agreed terms with Nottinghamshire with the lure of regular Division One cricket and the seam-bowler friendly nature of the Trent Bridge pitches likely to have been a factor in his decision.
"As a seam bowler there is no better ground to play at than Trent Bridge,” said Shahzad. “Hopefully playing alongside so many England players and performing well for Notts will put me back in the limelight."
Lancashire were also unlikely to be able to compete with Nottinghamshire, a club who were desperate to sign an experienced fast-bowler having already missed out on signing James Harris and Jack Brooks, in the salary stakes.
“I spoke to Ajmal at the back end of the season, he’s been aware of our interest for some time and we see him as a major signing for all forms of the game,” said Nottinghamshire Director of Cricket Mick Newell.
“His white ball record in particular is excellent and will give us some experience to replace Darren Pattinson as well as opening the bowling for us in four-day cricket and providing useful runs from the number eight position. He’s has had some experience of international cricket and we’d like to see him get back to that level through some impressive performances for Notts.”
Shahzad has played one Test match and 11 One-Day Internationals for England, taking 21 wickets and scoring 44 runs.
Nottinghamshire have also extended the contract of another former Lancashire all-rounder, Steven Mullaney, until the end of the 2015 season. Mullaney has been a fixture for the club in limited-overs cricket throughout his time at Trent Bridge, but also showed signs of establishing himself in their four-day side towards the end of last season when he finished second in the County Championship batting averages.
Derbyshire have continued their policy of securing the long-term futures of the bulk of their 2012 LV= County Championship Division Two winning squad by signing talented middle-order batsman Dan Redfern on a three-year deal.
The 22 year-old, who is a product of the club's successful Academy system, enjoyed his best season to date and finally ended his long wait for a first-class century in the opening game of the year against Northamptonshire.
Redfern said: “With home grown cricketers gaining full backing to succeed alongside our valuable established players, it’s a very enjoyable environment in which to play cricket, so I’m delighted to commit to Derbyshire for three years.
“I’ve been pleased with my performances this season from a personal point of view and of course absolutely delighted with the success of the team.
“We’re right up for the challenge of First Division cricket next summer, as we are for the two limited-overs competitions also. We’ll go for it with no fear, with a great team spirit and with the same determination to be successful that served us so well in 2012.”
Head Coach Karl Krikken said: “Dan has been demonstrating magnificent potential ever since his teenage years on the Academy and it was a pleasure to see that talent coming to fruition in 2012.
“The natural talent he possesses means Dan has all the attributes to really kick on after an impressive year in 2012 as he continues his first-class career with us for at least the next three years.”
Leicestershire are set to announce the signing of Ireland wicket-keeper Niall O'Brien on a three-year contract in the coming days. O'Brien is likely to play the role of opener for the Foxes next season following the injury-induced retirement of their regular opener Will Jefferson.
O'Brien will join newly-signed Northamptonshire all-rounder on a MCC tour to Tanzania tomorrow and is understood to want to get his county future sorted before then if possible.
Sussex chief executive Dave Brooks has stunned the club by announcing that he will leave his post before the end of the year. Brooks joined Sussex in 2009 after a successful career in the food industry and leaves with a glowing reference from club chairman Jim May.
“Dave Brooks has been a transformational chief executive. He has combined an astute business focus with an empathy and understanding for cricket at all levels,” May said.
“He masterminded the ground development of The County Ground at Hove into one of the best grounds in the country. Dave has been an outstanding chief executive who leaves Sussex with our very best wishes and who has left the club in great shape for his successor.”
Somerset have hired former Gloucestershire batsman Chris Taylor as their fielding coach for the 2013 season. Taylor has spent considerable time with the ECB working in a similar role following his release by Gloucestershire at the end of the 2011 season.
© Cricket World 2012
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