Azhar Ali is flying into England today to begin his second spell with Worcestershire, and Head Coach Alan Richardson confirmed he will play in the three-day friendly with Warwickshire at Edgbaston beginning on Monday.
The Pakistan batter will train at Kidderminster on Friday with his Worcestershire teammates who are not involved on day two of the friendly with Northamptonshire at the County Ground, Northampton.
Azhar was a big success at New Road last summer, on the field as part of a formidable top six in LV=Insurance County Championship cricket, but also in passing on advice to other batters, including Jack Haynes, who has praised the influence he has had on his game.
Richardson said: “Azhar flies in today (Thursday), and he will be training on Friday at Kidderminster with the guys back from playing on the first day at Northampton and then will join us for the pre-season friendly against Warwickshire.
“It will be great to have him back. It’s a real indication of Azhar, the fact he is getting here early, wants to be part of the pre-season programme.
“That was something he was quite insistent on when we have been speaking to him throughout the winter, that he wanted to get here as early as he could and play at least one- pre-season game.
“He has been talking about how he needs to get out on the grass and start hitting some balls after a busy winter doing all sorts of things from his Academy to some media work, alongside also playing a lot of cricket as well.
“It shows the character of him and the buy-in we get to Worcestershire from Azhar, which is a fantastic example to everyone else.”
Azhar was one of six Worcestershire players to average over 40 in Championship cricket last summer, scoring 656 runs with the highlight a superb 225 versus Leicestershire at New Road.
His last first class appearance was in his 97th and final Test for Pakistan against England at Karachi in mid-December and he ended with 7,142 Test runs at an average of 42.26 with 19 hundreds.
Before that, he enjoyed a prolific winter for Central Punjab in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy, topping the averages with 598 runs in eight innings, including three hundreds, at an average of 85.42.