Pakistan speedster Naseem Shah has joined Leicestershire County for the start of the T20 Blast — albeit for a short stint — as a replacement for Afghanistan seamer Naveen-ul-Haq.
Naveen is currently in India after Lucknow Super Giants qualified for the Indian Premier League (IPL) playoffs.
Naseem landed in the UK on Tuesday evening and joined his new teammates ahead of Thursday’s T20 opener away at Lancashire.
The 20-year-old has claimed 191 career wickets so far, which includes 73 in T20 cricket at an average of 29.75.
“A precocious talent, Naseem made his maiden first-class appearance aged 15, before making his Pakistan debut in Brisbane as a 16-year-old in 2019 – claiming 80 wickets on the international stage,” Leicestershire said in a press release.
“He has gone on to become an integral part of Pakistan’s white-ball squads too. After making his ODI and T20I debuts last August, Naseem has featured on 27 occasions for his country, including being an ever-present as Pakistan finished runners-up in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup.
“Naseem has prior experience in the Vitality Blast, taking five wickets at 20 for Gloucestershire during his spell in Bristol last summer. He was also due to link up with Welsh Fire for The Hundred that year but pulled out following selection for Pakistan’s ODI series against Netherlands and the Asia Cup.”
Shah was also excited about joining the team for a brief stint.
“I’m very excited to be joining the Foxes for the start of the Vitality Blast. I can’t wait to meet my teammates and help win games for Leicestershire,” said the Pakistan seamer.
Director of Cricket, Claude Henderson, added: “Having Naveen in the IPL playoffs meant we had to make a quick call and we are extremely excited to have secured someone of Naseem’s calibre.
“He’s proven to be a world-class performer in T20 cricket, and we look forward to seeing him in a Leicestershire shirt shortly.”
Mohammad Abbas, Shahid Afridi, Abdul Razzaq and Umar Akmal have also represented the Foxes in the past.