Pakistani test batsmen Azhar Ali and young left-arm spinner Zafar Gohar to take part in the remainder of the County Championship season.
Azhar Ali’s return to Somerset comes after two of the previous batsmen suffered injuries during the championship.
Somerset’s first wicket average of 18.46 had already been the lowest this season and following the hamstring injury of Tom Abell, the opening order was in serious trouble.
Similarly, Somerset signed Devon Conway for two Championship games in July during his spell as the club’s second overseas player for the T20 Blast, but he has since returned to New Zealand after suffering a finger injury while playing for Southern Brave in the Hundred.
As a result, they have brought Azhar back into the game for a third spell, following stints in 2018 and 2019. They expect him to be available for “at least three” of the final four rounds of Championship games following international duty in the Caribbean, and the Bob Willis Trophy final if Somerset finishes in the top two.
“I am very excited to be returning to Somerset – it has become like a second home for me,” Azhar said. Andy Hurry, the club’s director of cricket, described him as a “class act… [Who] embodies everything that you want an overseas player to be.”
— Azhar Ali (@AzharAli_) August 18, 2021
Azhar Ali has been one of Somerset’s most successful batsmen over the past few years. He has scored over 800 runs in 17 matches for the team with a best of 125. He was instrumental in Somerset’s One Day Cup title-winning campaign in 2019 as well.
Meanwhile, Zafar Gohar will take part in the County Championship for the first time in his career after signing with Gloucestershire Cricket for their final four Championship fixtures.
Glos sign Zafar Gohar ✍🤝
The Pakistan International spinner will play in all of Gloucestershire’s remaining Division Two LV= Insurance County Championship matches this season.
Welcome to The Shire @iamzafargohar 👊
Read here ⤵ ⤵#GoGlos💛🖤
— Gloucestershire Cricket🏏 (@Gloscricket) August 19, 2021
Gohar, the left-arm spinner, has made his Test debut against New Zealand earlier this year and has experience playing in England for Moddershall and Oulton and Warwickshire’s second XI in 2019.
On his selection, Zafar stated “Having spent a lot of time in the UK in the past few years, it is a real dream come true to have the opportunity to play county cricket. Gloucestershire is a fantastic club with a rich history, and I’m looking forward to hopefully playing my part in ensuring the season finishes on a high.”
The Pakistani cricket fans are sending their best wishes for both players.
Domestic cricket in Pakistan
Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has announced the coaches for the domestic season 2020-21.
According to the PCB, coaches of 42 teams from 6 cricket associations have been announced for 266 matches after reviewing the overall performances.
📢 All six Cricket Association coaches announced for domestic season 2021-22 📢
— Pakistan Cricket (@TheRealPCB) August 20, 2021
Former all-rounder Abdul Razzaq has been appointed as the head coach of Central Punjab whereas Akram Raza and Humayun Farhat have been promoted from the second XI while Shahid Anwar has been appointed as the coach of Southern Punjab First XI.
PCB has also appointed Aizaz Cheema as the assistant coach and Irfan Fazil as the fielding coach. Abdul Rehman has been given the responsibilities of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa while Rifatullah Mohmand and Mohammad Siddique are among the coaching staff.
Ejaz Ahmed Jr. has been appointed as the coach of Northern First XI, Samiullah Niazi and Fahad Akram will be among the coaching staff of the Northern team.
Former cricketers Basit Ali Sindh and Faisal Iqbal will remain the head coaches of Balochistan First XI.