Oswestry Cricket Club have landed a top-class Pakistani fast bowler – and now face a race against time to get him into the country before the first game of the season on April 29.
Sadaf Hussain, a 27-year-old left-armer who stands 6ft 5in, has signed a contract with the Morda Road club and will play a major role in Oswestry’s bid to regain their place in Division One of the Birmingham League.
Hussain has taken 311 First Class wickets at an average of 18.18, with five wickets in an innings 22 times and 10 wickets in a match on five occasions.
He has also dismissed 99 batsmen in one-day cricket.
He plays for Rawalpindi – the same club as 100mph bowler Shoaib Akhtar – and his best analysis is the 9-35 he took against HBK in 2011.
Footage of his bowling in that game can be found on YouTube.
He has played for Pakistan A and has been on the verge of selection for the full Test team on several occasions.
He toured the West Indies with the Pakistan one-day international and T20 squad in 2011.
In the past two English seasons Hussain has played in the North Staffs and South Cheshire League, where he has taken 143 wickets at an average of 10.36.
“It’s a great coup for the club to land a player of Sadaf’s First Class experience,” said Oswestry skipper Robbie Clarke.
“Not only is he a fine bowler, he is a Level 2 coach, and he will be coaching the First XI as well as our ever-growing junior section.
“All we’ve got to worry about now is getting him into the country.
“There’s a lot of red tape involved these days in bringing in a player from overseas, and the regulations have been tightened up this year.
“But if everything goes to plan he’ll be here in time to play in our opening game at C and R Hawks on the last Saturday on April.”
Hussain is the fourth major signing for Oswestry during the close season, following batsman Chris Woodcock and teenage quickie Roman Walker from Marchwiel and Wrexham, and the return of wicketkeeper Dean Suter from Shelton.
“Once Sadaf gets here, we’ll feel we’re well-equipped for the new season,” said Clarke, whose youngest brother Xavie flew out to Sri Lanka last week as a member of the England Under-16s squad.