County news – Azhar Ali commits to Worcestershire for 2023 season


Azhar Ali will be rejoining Worcestershire as an overseas player for the 2023 season, after starring during the 2022 season with 607 runs at 46.69 in eight County Championship appearances to date.

Azhar, 37, made his top score of 225 against Leicestershire in May, but also signed off for the season with 130 in his final appearance against Northamptonshire.

In a press release, however, the club also praised his influence on the other players within the squad, and Paul Pridgeon, Worcestershire’s steering group chairman, said they were pleased to have secured his return for 2023.

“Azhar has loved it here and wants to come back and do a job for us again next season, and we are delighted he has signed for another year,” he said.

“Azhar has done really well for us. We think he is a brilliant cricketer, he has fitted into our dressing room, and the players love him.

“To get someone who is available for most of, if not the entire season, again is another bonus with your overseas player because I think it is going to be harder and harder to do that.

“He has had interest from other first-class counties as well, but he has indicated he has really loved being at Worcestershire, and his family are settled here.”

Among the players whom Azhar has helped to develop is Jack Haynes, the 21-year-batter with whom he has put on some significant partnerships this summer, including a third-wicket stand of 281 against Leicestershire.

“Jack is a talented cricketer, but with the time he has spent batting with Azhar at the crease, he has looked much more reassured, calmer, and more patient,” Pridgeon added.

“I think Azhar has been a great influence with him on and off the field.”

Azhar added: “Being part of the Worcestershire setup has been such an enjoyable experience for me, and I’m delighted to be coming back for another year.

“There is so much potential in this squad, and, as well as being glad that I’ve been able to play my part with the bat, I’ve been happy to pass on my knowledge and experience to other people.

“The team have played a lot of good cricket in the Championship this year and could easily have picked up another two or three wins, and I hope I can help the team to kick on next year.

“We have already strengthened for next season by signing Adam Hose and Matthew Waite, and I think the future is very bright for the Club.”

Meanwhile Northamptonshire have shored up their bowling stocks by signing the South Africa seamer, Lizaad Williams, for the remainder of the season.

Williams, 27, made his Test debut earlier this year, and has 209 first-class wickets to his name at 27.08. He will be available for the county’s final four championship fixtures, including Monday’s trip to Hampshire.

“I’m looking forward to joining up with the squad and to hit the ground running.” Williams said. “The team is in a strong position in the County Championship and I hope I can contribute towards some positive results in the upcoming games.”


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