Test Match Sofa
Shahzad makes shock exit from Yorkshire
By Tim Wellock
Two days after confirming that Australian left-arm paceman Mitchell Starc will be joining the county this week, Yorkshire have taken the shock decision to release Ajmal Shahzad.
A club statement said: “Following discussions between YCCC and Ajmal Shahzad, it has been jointly agreed that in the best interests of his development Ajmal will be given the option to play for another club either under a new contract or on loan for the rest of the season.”
The 26-year-old Huddersfield-born paceman was the first British-born Asian to play for Yorkshire when he made his one-day debut in 2004. His first-class bow followed two years later and he went on to play in a Test match against Bangladesh at Old Trafford two years ago.
Shahzad went on the Ashes tour the following winter but suffered an ankle injury, which continued to trouble him last season, when he took only 25 Championship wickets at 41 runs apiece.
As he had struggled on with the injury, which required an operation at the end of the season, he wasn’t happy about being implicated among those heavily criticised by chairman Colin Graves following relegation from Division One.
There were rumours last season that Shahzad was unsettled and he was said to fancy a move to Lancashire. It seems certain that he has another county lined up.
In the statement issued yesterday Yorkshire director of cricket Martyn Moxon, said: “There has been a lot of discussion over a period of time with Ajmal regarding his cricket and it has been agreed by the club and the player that it is in his best interests that he pursues his career elsewhere. I would like to wish Ajmal every success in the future.”
Graves said: “I am disappointed that Ajmal will be leaving as he is one of the bright prospects of England's fast bowlers. We wish Ajmal all the very best and thank him for his contribution to Yorkshire cricket over the years.”
Shahzad has played in Yorkshire’s first three games in Division Two and is joint leading wicket-taker with Ryan Sidebottom. His eight wickets have come at an average of 26.25.
He said: “I would like to thank both the staff and supporters of YCCC for all the help and encouragement that I have received. I am now looking forward to the next chapter in my career and hope to push for further honours within the game.”
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