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Shahzad can't wait to start

Ajmal Shahzad can't wait to get started after joining Lancashire on loan for the rest of the season.

The 26 year-old fast bowler, in a 13-man squad for the County Championship clash against Sussex at Hove, was forced indoors as rain wiped out Wednesday's opening day.

Shahzad, who has played one Test, eleven one-day and three Twenty20 internationals for his country, was made available for a move away from his home county last Tuesday. He rejected offers from a number of counties, preferring to join the champions and learn from the likes of Peter Moores and Glen Chapple.

"I've been sat out for four or five days, and it's nice to be back in cricket," said the Huddersfield-born player. "I've been involved here for the last couple of days, and Lancs seems to be a vibrant, great environment.

"Peter Moores seems like a great coach as well, and I'm fitting in and can't wait to get out and play. Lancs have given me the opportunity, and I'd have been stupid to turn it down.

"I want to learn off people here, and there's no better person to learn off in county cricket at the moment than Glen Chapple. I'm desperate to pick his brains, which I think will be very good for me.

"When I'm on the pitch and playing, I've got a lot to offer, which I'm sure the coaches know. I'm looking forward to doing by bit when they need me in all forms of the game. I know they haven't had the greatest of starts, but it sounds like they've played some good cricket in patches and just need a bit of luck. Hopefully I can be a part of getting them back up to the top.
 
"I'm a wholehearted cricketer who expresses himself and is not afraid to show emotion. I want to get involved and get stuck in.
 
"I think I'll go down well here. The lads are enjoying themselves in the dressing room as we speak, and it's a great atmosphere to be involved with. I want to help them get back to winning ways.

"I'm hoping I can flourish because I've stagnated over the last 12-18 months due to my injury situation. I had ankle surgery over the winter. I want to kick-start things again and get myself back into that England set-up."

Shahzad, who has bowled well for Yorkshire in the Championship this year, made his only Test appearance against Bangladesh the summer of 2010, ironically at his new Old Trafford home.

"That was a massive moment, and I enjoyed every minute of it," said Shahzad, who took four wickets in that match. "It was just a great memory. It's ironic that I'll be back there playing for Lancs.

"There were few counties in for me, and it was a massive decision for me to come here. It's convenient for both parties at the moment because I'm only here until the end of the season.

"For me, I've got very strong family ties and I'm only round the corner. For Lancs, they've got Tom Smith injured and out for around six weeks. I can come in and fill in that gap. It's a good atmosphere to play my cricket in.

"If I can show to them what I'm capable of doing and what I'm about, which leads to a deal being put on the table, I'd be stupid not to have a look into it. For me, at the moment in time, I'm just concentrating on getting some cricket under my belt."

Shahzad went close to winning the Championship title with Yorkshire in 2010, while the Tykes also reached the Clydesdale Bank 40 semi-finals during the same season.

And, needless to say, the fast bowler is desperate to go one better this summer.

He added: "These lads have proved that they can win things after winning the Championship. They're a strong unit and very talented cricketers. I know it's been a tricky start to the Championship, but there was a win in the CB40 against Leicestershire at the weekend. Hopefully that has kick started things."

Graham Hardcastle
Photo (c) Gareth Copley/PA Archive/Press Association Images
Article (c) Lancashire CCC Ltd

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