Azhar is Back

Somerset have just announced their re-signing of Pakistan opener Azhar Ali for three of the remaining County Championship Division One fixtures.

I had expected an overseas signing and anticipated it would be someone currently in the country for other reasons but Somerset have pulled a rabbit out of the hat here with this coup. Azhar is currently playing for his national side in the West Indies in a two-test series that ends next Tuesday (24th) so will presumably fly to the UK as soon as that game finishes.

Availability is subject to a visa and COVID protocols when he arrives which will almost certainly prevent him being ready in time for the home game at the start of division one against Nottinghamshire.

Azhar was a popular and successful member of the squad from July 2018 to July 2019 and will no doubt fit straight back into the environment at the County Ground. He has stayed in contact with a number of the squad and I understand that he and Tom Abell are particularly close.

The need for an opening batsman was clear and, allied to Tom Abell’s return to fitness means that my top seven would be: Davies, Azhar, Abell, Hildreth, Goldsworthy, Bartlett, Lammonby.

A good signing, let’s just hope that as at Lords in May 2019 Azhar is celebrating a trophy with Somerset in six weeks time.