Surrey sign Pakistan all-rounder Azhar Mahmood for FL t20

Surrey snap up Pakistan all-rounder Azhar Mahmood for this year's Friends Life Twenty20 tournament

Ryan Bailey
By Ryan Bailey

Surrey have secured the services of Azhar Mahmood for this year’s Friends Life t20 competition, further enhancing the club’s chances of lifting the trophy for the first time since 2003.

The Pakistan all-rounder spent six years at the Oval between 2002 and 2007 before moving to Kent.

Mahmood, who is currently playing in the Indian Premier League for the Kings XI Punjab, will join up with Surrey before their opening game of the campaign against defending champions Hampshire on 26 June.

The 38-year-old is one of the most experienced bowlers in the shortest format of the game, having played 170 Twenty20 matches, taking 190 wickets.

And Mahmood, who qualifies as a non-overseas player having become a British citizen in 2011, says he is excited about coming back to Surrey.

“It feels very special to be coming back to Surrey,” he said.

“Obviously it’s a very different set-up to when I was last at Surrey and Twenty20 cricket has also gone from strength to strength.

“I like the squad Surrey have for Twenty20. It looks strong and a real mix of youth and experience, and I look forward to catching up with the guys when I get back from India.”

Surrey’s recent record in the competition is poor, having failed to progress from the group stages in the last three years but they have signaled their intent with the signings of Graeme Smith, Ricky Ponting and now Mahmood.

Having represented Sydney Thunder in Australia’s Big Bash league and Cape Cobras in South Africa’s domestic competition as well as playing in the IPL, Surrey team director Chris Adams knows his experience will be vital if his side are to be successful this term.

“This club has been starved of his talents over the last few years. To have such a high skilled player of his quality is a great bonus for us,” said Adams.

“From what I gather Azhar has been sorely missed since he left and should never have really been allowed to leave the club. He looks fit and strong and mentally it looks like he is enjoying his cricket.”

“He comes with a wealth of experience, a great record behind him.”

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