Surrey signs Pakistani duo
LONDON: Surrey have signed up Pakistani duo Azhar Mahmood and Mohammad Akram for the 2005 season.
All-rounder Mahmood, 29, has agreed a one-year deal after spending the last three seasons as one of the county’s overseas players. Akram, who left Sussex last week after asking to be released with 12 months remaining on his contract for family reasons, has signed for three seasons. England batsman Mark Butcher will take over as Surrey captain next season.
Saqlain Mushtaq, who missed most of last season with a knee injury, needs surgery and has not been re-engaged so the club are pursuing a suitable replacement. There will be increased responsibility on Azhar in the all-rounder’s role due to the retirement of Adam Hollioake while Akram will spearhead the attack with Jimmy Ormond and Martin Bicknell.
Former Pakistan Test paceman Akram is classed as an English player after completing a two-year residency qualification. The 30-year-old has nine Test caps and made 23 one-day appearances for Pakistan and played for Northamptonshire and Essex before claiming 46 first-class wickets at 34 apiece for 2003 county champions Sussex this year.
Steve Rixon, Surrey’s cricket manager, said: “To have the talents of Mohammad next season will be a real bonus. He is a top quality performer who will relish the sort of pitches produced here at the Brit Oval. “We know what we are getting with Azhar, someone who gives 100% and is very popular in the dressing room. To have both of them playing here is very exciting and demonstrates our intention to strengthen the squad.” Surrey have also handed two-year contracts to batsman Richard Clinton and spinner Nayan Doshi and offered young seamers Danny Miller and Jade Dernbach new terms. bbc