Former Pakistan all-rounder Abdul Razzaq is all set to return to first-class cricket after a hiatus of four years. The 38-year-old will captain the PTV side in Pakistan’s Grade 1 competition this season.
Razzaq last played first-class cricket in 2014 when his outfit ZBTL was relegated to Grade 2. However, the all-rounder is hoping his performances in the longer format can translate to a Pakistan Super League (PSL) contract next season.
“I will be captaining PTV this season. I feel completely fit at the moment and my form has good recently. I hope my performances in the domestic season gets me selected for the PSL next year,” he was quoted as saying by the Daily Express.
Razzaq had donned the bowling coach’s hat for Quetta Gladiators in the recently-concluded edition of the PSL. The Lahore-born man revealed that he had been in touch with the selectors regarding his target of playing in the PSL next time.
“I already told the selectors my plans for the future at the time. We all are agreed that if my form and performances in the domestic season are up to the mark, then I would most certainly be drafted in the next PSL,” he said.
The swashbuckling all-rounder has played 46 Tests, 265 ODIs and 32 T20Is for Pakistan over the course of his career after having made his debut in 1996. His last appearance in a Pakistan shirt came all the way back in November, 2013 in a T20 clash against South Africa.
While he targets a PSL contract, Razzaq has said that he harbours no ambitions of returning to the international fold.
“There are so many youngsters who are in the Pakistan side and they truly deserve their spot. I have no intentions of returning to the international team and would like to leave my mark in the domestic season,” he explained.
The hard-hitting all-rounder had recently turned up at the Ice Cricket match at St. Moritz in Switzerland alongside the likes of Shahid Afridi and Shoaib Akhtar. Before that, he had represented the Amo Sharks in the Shpageeza Cricket League in Afghanistan last year.
Pakistan batsman got a good workout in their warm-up match against Northamptonshire with middle order batsman Asad Shafiq scoring an unbeaten 135 as the visitors reached 357-7 on the second day of their match on Saturday.
After leg-spinner Shadab Khan picked up six wickets in the first innings to dismiss the hosts for 259, it was the turn of Pakistan’s batsman to get some form under their belt.
Openers Azhar Ali (9) and Imam-ul-Haq (11) failed to get going but one-down batsman Haris Sohail (79) and Shafiq kept the Northants bowler at bay with a 136-run stand for the third wicket.
After Sohail was dismissed by off-spinner Rob Keogh (3-83), Babar Azam stepped in and scored 57 while adding 110 with Shafiq.
Shafiq, 32, hit 11 fours and three sixes during his 224-ball innings as Pakistan batsmen gained some confidence after being bowled out for 168 in their opening warm-up fixture against Kent.
Young Shadab picked up six wickets as Northamptonshire were bowled out for 259 on the first day of the four-day game. Openers Azhar Ali and Imam-ul-Haq negotiated four overs safely with Pakistan 6-0 by the time stumps were called on Friday.
Northamptonshire skipper Rob Newton won the toss and elected to bat first. The skipper formed a decent opening partnership of 36 runs with Ben Duckett who was the first to fall after being dismissed by pacer Rahat Ali.
The home side had recovered from the loss of two wickets in quick succession with a half-century stand between Newton and Richard Levi for the third wicket. That is when the Shadab show started with the 19-year-old trapping Levi lbw before finding the edge off Newton’s bat which Pakistan skipper Sarfraz Ahmed gathered safely.
The Northamptonshire middle-order had no answer to the wrist-spinner’s back of tricks with Josh Cobb and Rob Keogh becoming his next victims.
Adam Rossington top scored for the hosts with a knock of 90 runs and he became Shadab’s final victim with Sarfraz completing an excellent stumping.
Rahat ended up with two scalps while Haris Sohail claimed one wicket for Pakistan. Shadab was called up the Test side for the first time after senior spinner Yasir Shah was ruled out for the tours of Ireland and England.
The one-off Test between Ireland and Pakistan will get underway in Dublin on May 11.