Worcestershire Head Coach, Alex Gidman, says 2022 overseas signing, Azhar Ali, can have a huge impact in the dressing room with the younger players as well as making his mark on the pitch.
Azhar will be heading to New Road early next month for the bulk of the summer after Pakistan’s current home series against Australia, in which he has been in excellent form.
He scored 185 in the opening Test, and this week, his 78 in the first innings of the Third Test enabled him to become only the fifth Pakistan player to complete 7,000 Test runs.
Azhar has also scored more Test runs since the beginning of 2020 than any other Pakistan player.
He is proven quality, with an average of 43 in Test cricket spanning 12 years, but Gidman says his influence away from the middle will also be beneficial.
Gidman said: “A proven international cricketer for the last ten years or so. Ninety odd Test matches and quality to add to the team and the dressing room.
“He misses a couple of games in the middle of the season, but he is here for the bulk of the season, and I believe in trying to have some consistency with overseas players.
“It is getting harder and harder, so having someone here for the vast majority of our red ball season is excellent. It’s great for the players, and everyone is looking forward to welcoming him to the club.
“He is vastly experienced, and there is some leadership in there as well. He has experienced a huge amount in all facets of the game.
“We have heard some amazing things about him as a player and as a person, with some wonderful character references.
“I know he has a wonderful reputation for helping younger players, and it is something we all hope for from our overseas players and having a huge impact on and off the pitch.”
Gidman added: He knows English conditions, not only through Somerset, but a fair bit of international cricket, so there will be no surprises for him.
“Yes, it will be challenging, as it is for any of us playing in some of our conditions.
“But it won’t be a surprise, and I’m sure he will have lots of methods about how he can go about his business and put those into practice and share those with us as well.”