Test Match Sofa
Kabir Ali joins Lancs on two-year deal
By Graham Hardcastle
Lancashire have made Kabir Ali their first signing of the winter. The former England fast bowler moves to Old Trafford from Hampshire, where he was out of contract after three seasons. Ali joins the Red Rose, relegated from the LV= County Championship’s top tier in 2012, on a two-year deal.
He will add experience to a youthful bowling department after the departures of Ajmal Shahzad, Sajid Mahmood, Gary Keedy and Naqaash Tahir. As things stand, only he and captain Glen Chapple are aged above 30. The injury prone ex-Worcestershire man turns 32 later this month.
He took five wickets in his only Test match appearance against South Africa in the summer of 2003, and has claimed 20 wickets in 14 one-day internationals, the last of them coming in 2006. Ali was part of Hampshire's squad for last month's Champions League t20 campaign, and was a Clydesdale Bank 40 winner with them in September.
He has taken 483 wickets in 130 first-class matches, including 22 wickets in eight County Championship matches in 2012, and has scored seven half-centuries in a haul of 2,621 runs. Ironically, his career best figures of 8 for 50 came for Worcestershire against Lancashire at Old Trafford in May, 2007.
Birmingham-born Ali said: “Lancashire is a fantastic club with a proud history and great traditions. I am excited at the prospect of working under Peter Moores and his coaching team as well as playing alongside Glen Chapple, who is still one of the best in the country. Lancashire has an exciting and emerging squad, and I am looking forward to playing my part in the challenges ahead.”
Lancashire cricket director Mike Watkinson added: "We are pleased to bring in Kabir, whose experience and proven track record in all forms of the game will be of great benefit to our bowling unit."
Ali is not the only Midlander to be embarking upon a new career with Lancashire because new chief executive Daniel Gidney starts work as Jim Cumbes’s successor this coming Monday (November 5).
Gidney, a 43-year-old Warwickshire fan, has left a similar post at Coventry’s Ricoh Arena. He will initially work alongside Cumbes, who will leave Old Trafford at Christmas, before going it alone in the New Year.
“Jim Cumbes is a Lancashire legend, and the whole of the county are indebted to him for the legacy he will be leaving behind,” said Gidney. “But this is just a platform which we now have to use to take this club forward for the next 150 years. There is massive potential here, and that is one of the major things that attracted me to the job.”
Gidney, whose previous jobs included working for concert ticket specialists Live Nation, is keen to see Old Trafford “used for 365 days a year”, although he has assured Lancashire fans that cricket will always come first.
“Cricket will be at the heart of everything we do, with business on our mind,” he added. “Peter Moores and cricket director Mike Watkinson are a great team, and are the envy of most clubs in county cricket. Obviously, our main aim for next season is to win promotion back to Division One of the County Championship at the first time of asking.”
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