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Shahzad shock as he falls out of favour at Yorkshire
Ajmal Shahzad's Yorkshire career is over after he and the club sensationally parted ways with immediate effect yesterday.
The 26-year-old fast bowler, still on the fringes of the England set-up, will move from Headingley either permanently or on loan.
Although the prospect of a loan was mentioned in a club statement released last night, there is no doubt Shahzad’s long-term future lies with another county.
Having played in the first three County Championship fixtures this season, he has been replaced in a 12-man squad for today’s clash with Leicestershire at Scarborough by Anthony McGrath.
Martyn Moxon, Yorkshire’s director of professional cricket, said: “There has been a lot of discussion over a period of time with Ajmal regarding his cricket, and it has been agreed that it is in the player’s best interests that he pursues his career elsewhere.”
There will be no shortage of takers for Shahzad, whose three-year contract was due to run out at the end of the current campaign.
When he signed it after a breakthrough 2009 season, which yielded 34 Championship wickets, the likes of Lancashire, Middlesex and Worcestershire were all interested.
The early favourites for his signature are Somerset, who are in the market for a player to strengthen a bowling attack decimated by injuries and Indian Premier League commitments.
Yorkshire chairman Colin Graves admitted he was “disappointed that Ajmal will be leaving as he is one of the bright prospects of England’s fast bowlers”.
And Shahzad said: “I would like to thank both the staff and supporters of Yorkshire for all the help and encouragement that I have received since I joined the staff, and wish the club lots of success in the coming years.
“I am now looking forward to the next chapter in my career, and hope to push for further honours within the game.”
It is no secret that the last 13 months of Shahzad’s White Rose career, which began in 2004, have been strained.
He struggled with injury and loss of form last summer, and was one of the players at the top of Graves’ hit-list when he famously slammed the squad after suffering Championship relegation.
Shahzad only took 25 Championship wickets and was found guilty of scuffing up the pitch during a match against Warwickshire at Edgbaston.
He publicly revealed his “shock” at Graves’ comments as recently as late March.
He has played one Test match, 11 one-day and three Twenty20 internationals for England, the last of those coming in March last year.