County Round-Up For 18th-24th November 2013

Ashar Zaidi player pic
Ashar Zaidi will bolster the Sussex spin stocks for next season.
©Sussex CCC

Welcome to the county cricket round-up for the week beginning 18th November. This article will be updated with the latest stories as they unfold during the rest of the week.

Sussex Confirm Zaidi As Panesar’s Replacement
Trialist Ashar Zaidi has penned a two-year contract with Sussex after impressing during his brief spell at Hove at the end of last season.

A left-arm spinner and aggressive batsman, he was born in Pakistan and played for their Under-19 team and later their A side. He has also played extensively in first-class cricket in Pakistan, although not since 2009, both for regional sides such as Islamabad and Rawalpindi and for departmental team Khan Research Laboratories.

The 32 year-old is in possession of a British passport - thus qualifying as a ‘local’ player for Sussex - and made the most of that to play club cricket in England over the past few seasons. He played in various northern leagues for clubs such as Accrington, Middleton, Maghull, Wood Lane and Lancaster.

Last season, he cruised past 1,000 runs in the Lancashire League, eventually surpassing the league record of 1,444, and wrote to all 18 first-class counties offering his services. Sussex, having just parted company with Monty Panesar as a result of his troubles, offered him a trial.

He wasted little time in impressing, taking six for 24 and scoring 192 not out against Durham second XI. He was then thrust into the Championship and took seven wickets in two games, as well as further showing his capacity as a genuine all-rounder by striking a belligerent 45 against champions Durham.

Zaidi, who is currently playing in the Dhaka Premier League for Gazi Tank Cricketers, said, “It is an honour to sign for Sussex, and this is a really big achievement for me, especially after a few years’ break from the pro game. I'm really grateful for the chance that they have given me. I'll be aiming to justify that chance over the next couple of seasons. I'm hoping for enough opportunities to perform, and to open my chances for the future.”

Sussex captain Ed Joyce added, “Ash fitted into the squad really well and impressed everyone with his canny left-arm spin and attractive strokeplay. He will hopefully fulfil the spin role for us in four-day cricket while possibly also allowing us to play an extra seamer when the conditions suit.”

Zaidi’s addition should complete the Sussex close-season signings, especially in the bowling department, as it follows hot on the heels of them securing the signatures of Jon Lewis and Steffan Piolet. Zaidi’s main competition in the spin department next season will be leg-spinner Will Beer.

County Cricket News In Brief:
have signed Australian batsman Phil Jaques as their early-season replacement for Alex Hales. Hales is expected to earn an IPL deal so will miss the first two months of the season, with Jaques set to play until mid-June. Jaques, who qualifies as a ‘local’ player courtesy of his UK passport, played for Yorkshire last season, but was not offered a new deal as he is set to start a coaching career and didn’t want to play a full season of county cricket.

Sussex have extended the contract of left-arm seam-bowler Lewis Hatchett until the end of the 2014 season. Hatchett, 23, joined the club in 2010 and last year broke into the Sharks’ one-day team.

Middlesex CCC have unveiled a new crest to mark their 150th anniversary next season. Added to the old crest is a scroll featuring the words: “Middlesex Cricket - Est. 1864”.

New Glamorgan chief executive Hugh Morris has told Wales Online that the club are unlikely to make any more signings this winter. The county have secured a host of players on new contracts and have announced Jacques Rudolph as their overseas player.

Lancashire head coach Peter Moores has told the BBC that he will sign an overseas player for 2014 only “if the right person’s around.” Last season’s overseas pro, Simon Katich, has retired to take up a position with Australian football side Greater Western Sydney.

Gloucestershire Director of Cricket John Bracewell has admitted to the Bristol Post that the county may be forced into the loan market in their search for an experienced seam-bowler next season. Efforts to sign Jon Lewis were thwarted due to financial constraints, while reported talks with former Middlesex bowler Corey Collymore could stall for the same reason.

© Cricket World 2013