Shoaib makes Surrey move
Shoaib Akhtar has sealed a short-term deal with Surrey after the PCB backed his move to the County Championship.
Last Updated: 03/09/08 3:02pm
Shoaib Akhtar has sealed a short-term deal with Surrey after the Pakistan Cricket Board backed his move to the County Championship.
Surrey are 18 points adrift at the foot of the Division One table and have three matches to save themselves - leading to an SOS call to Shoaib.
Cricket manager Alan Butcher now seems certain to hand Shoaib his Surrey debut on Thursday against Kent after his move went through.
Although Shoaib has not played for Pakistan this year, he is keen to press his claims for a Test return and starring in a Surrey escape act would aid his cause.
"I am delighted to have been recruited by Surrey," said Shoaib.
He told www.cricketnirvana.com: "I wanted to go much earlier, but an endorsement in India and then my mother's illness delayed my departure.
"But finally I'm off on Wednesday and hope to play as early as Thursday.
"I am fully fit and have lost some weight which would help me bowl at least 15
to 20 overs in an innings.
"It's late summer in England so the weather would be perfect and I would do my best to help the team win all three matches."
Shoaib, 33, last played Test cricket in December when and hopes to add to his 46 appearances in the future - but needs to prove himself first.
"We have no Tests this year which is disappointing," added Shoaib.
"So it is a great chance to play a few county games. Surrey is a great county and one of my idols Waqar Younis played for them in the past, so it is a great honour and privilege."
The PCB gave the move the thumbs up due to Shoaib's lack of playing time, according to chief operating officer Shafqat Naghmi.
"We have cleared Shoaib to play county cricket and have given him a no objection certificate," Naghmi told the News.
"Shoaib has been out of competitive cricket for quite sometime and needs to regain his match fitness.
"We believe a short county stint might help him in doing that."
The PCB has previously denied players such as Umar Gul and Ifthikar Rao permission to play in the County Championship, but say the Shoaib case is different.
"We had stopped our fast bowlers from playing for counties because such stints had affected their form and fitness," Naghmi added.
"Mohammad Asif and Rana Naved-ul-Hassan both suffered major injuries while playing county cricket. But Shoaib's case is different.
"He hasn't played much cricket this year. In fact a county stint could actually benefit him."