By MO BHANA
Yorkshire County Cricket Club have signed Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed, who will be replacing the outgoing Australian batsman Peter Handscomb in the NatWest T20 Blast.
Sarfraz is due to arrive in the UK before the end of the month, subject to obtaining a visa.
He is expected to play the final five qualifying T20 Blast fixtures for Yorkshire, as well as any potential knockout stages of the competition.
Handscomb will leave the UK after the Vikings’ trip to Trent Bridge on Sunday, July 30 in order to join a week-long training camp ahead of Australia’s tour of Bangladesh.
“I’ve always wanted to play county cricket so this is an exciting opportunity for me,” he told Yorkshire’s official website.
“Yorkshire are a big club with a rich history and huge reputation and I’m proud to be following in the footsteps of other Pakistanis who have played at Headingley like Younus Khan and Inzamam-ul Haq.
“It’s a dream come true for me and hopefully it can help me become an even better professional.
“I hope I can contribute towards some victories while I’m there and provide the crowd the sort of entertainment they’re looking for. I look forward to having a taste of the T20 Blast.”
Sarfraz has scored 359 runs in 29 T20Is, at a strike rate of 118.48. The 30-year-old averages 28.03 in domestic T20 cricket, including eight half-centuries.
“Through trying to keep the consistency and balance of the team as it is currently, Sarfraz was the perfect choice for that role,” said Yorkshire Club’s Director of Cricket Martyn Moxon.
“With his recent success in the Champions Trophy, we asked a few people about him as far as his cricketing prowess and all the reports coming back are that he’s an outstanding cricketer both as a keeper and batsman. I believe he’ll fit in well to our structures and will be a success.”
“When we knew that Pete was going to Bangladesh, we started to think about what we could do. ‘Do we go with our own players? Do we try and bring someone else in?’
“We were quite prepared to go with our own players if need be but when we looked at it and enquired about the availability of Sarfraz, it seemed to make sense that we would make him an offer and fortunately he’s agreed to join us,” added Moxon.