Pakistan batsman Azhar Ali is set to return to Somerset for the 2019 season after scoring 402 Championship runs from seven outings in the 2018 campaign.
Azhar, who has recently retired from international white-ball cricket, will be available for the County Championship and the Royal London One-Day Cup for the whole season.
Since his previous stint at Somerset, Azhar has appeared in three Tests for Pakistan – twice against Australia and once against New Zealand – scoring 188 at an average of 31.33 in his six innings, with a top score of 65.
“I very much enjoyed my time with the club this year and I am really pleased to be going back,” said the top-order batsman. “Somerset is a special club and it was a pleasure to play for them in 2018.
“There was a really good atmosphere in the dressing room and there are some very good players. The supporters were excellent, and I look forward to seeing everyone again next year.”
Somerset’s director of cricket Andy Hurry expressed his delight at the return of Azhar: “We are delighted to have secured a player of Azhar’s quality and experience for the duration of the summer and having him available for all our Specsavers County Championship and Royal London One-Day Cup fixtures fits our needs perfectly.
“Azhar fitted in seamlessly during his time with us towards the back end of the 2018 season. Knowing the positive impact that he will have both on and off the field, alongside his availability all summer, were key factors in wanting to secure him.
Whilst he was here, he spent a lot of time working alongside the Second XI players and giving them the benefit of his experience. That is exactly the sort of support you want from your overseas signing and I can’t speak highly enough of him as a person.”