Somerset declare interest in departing Yorkshire bowler Shahzad
SOMERSET expect to discover today whether Ajmal Shahzad is receptive to the possibility of moving to Taunton after being made available for transfer by Yorkshire.
Somerset's director of cricket, Brian Rose, contacted Shahzad's agent yesterday to officially register his county's interest in signing the 26-year-old, who has appeared in one Test and 11 one-day internationals for England.
If Shahzad, who has been told he can leave Yorkshire, indicates he would be willing to move to Taunton, talks could begin today.
Rose has been scouring the market for cover for his injured seam bowlers, with Steve Kirby, Gemaal Hussain and Adam Dibble all currently unavailable and Vernon Philander only with the county on a temporary basis.
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Shahzad is the best available seam option by some distance – and Rose is eager to ensure his county are in a strong position to sign the Yorkshireman, whose imminent exit from his home county has not been fully explained.
"I have made an initial enquiry (yesterday morning) through his representative and I am awaiting a response in the next 24 hours," said Rose.
"The enquiry has gone in, but I do not know any details about the exact nature of his availability, I am afraid, as that appears to be between the player and his current club.
"That will come out when or if they say they are interested. Then I will be able to proceed. But as it stands, I have simply registered my interest in bringing Ajmal to Somerset."
As recently as Sunday, Rose was bemoaning the lack of options available to Somerset in the loan market, with Division One clubs understandably reluctant to help out a rival county.
But Yorkshire announced on Tuesday night that "it has been jointly agreed that, in the best interests of his development, Ajmal will be given the option to play for another club, either under a new contract or on loan, for the rest of the season".
By yesterday morning, Rose had moved to declare his interest – and added: "It's a bit of an unusual situation – and we are in an unusual situation ourselves, given the number of seam bowlers we have injured at present.
"When a player of his age and ability, someone who has played Test cricket for England, comes on the market – and at this stage of the season – then of course we are interested. He is of great interest to us."
Shahzad recorded match figures of 4-63 in his only Test appearance, against Bangladesh in 2010, and has also taken 17 ODI wickets at 28.82 and 135 first-class victims at 33.80. He is also a decent enough batsman, averaging 25.84 in first-class cricket, with a high-score of 88.