Kabir Ali joined his new team-mates at Old Trafford today as the squad reported back for training. Graham Hardcastle profiles Lancashire's newest recruit
Kabir Ali’s first season with Lancashire will almost certainly see him pass the 500-wicket barrier in first-class cricket. The fast bowler, born in Birmingham, has enjoyed a successful career primarily with Worcestershire, but also having featured for England, most recently Hampshire as well as England A (now Lions) and Rajasthan.
Ali, 32-years-old, joins the Red Rose county after three seasons on the South Coast with Hampshire. He had previously spent eleven with Worcester, in which time he played one Test and 14 one-day internationals.
Having made his first-class debut during the latter stages of 1999 campaign, Ali got his first taste of international duty when called up to England’s one-day squad in Australia during the winter of 2002/3, but had to wait until that July until he made his bow in a 50-over match against Zimbabwe at Headingley.
He also made his only Test appearance at the Leeds venue - against South Africa - the following month, taking five wickets in the match. Unfortunately, he did not get another chance.
That was not the case in the one-day international arena, however, as he was his country’s leading wicket-taker with 13 in a 4-1 series defeat in South Africa in 2005, memorably helping to secure a tie at Bloemfontein with an expertly bowled final over. It is a match regularly replayed by Sky Sports on their Classics programmes.
After that series, he only played six more ODIs, including his penultimate one against Sri Lanka at Old Trafford in 2006.
Ali, who regularly bowls a heavy ball just back of a length with quite low, slingy action - nowhere near somebody such as Lasith Malinga, however - has taken 23 five-wicket hauls and four ten-wicket match hauls during his career.
Ironically, his best figures of 8-50 from 16 overs came for Worcestershire against Lancashire at Old Trafford in May, 2007. His haul included the scalps of new county colleagues Paul Horton, Glen Chapple and Jimmy Anderson.
Ali also comes from a cricket mad family. His brother Aatif has played second XI cricket for Hampshire, Worcestershire and Leicestershire, while he has three cricket playing cousins. Omar has played Minor Counties for Hertfordshire - and Moeen is an integral part of Worcester’s top order and Kadir played for Leicester last year.
“When I was born dad actually smuggled a cricket ball in (to the hospital),” Ali once said. “All our family plays, and dad decided to smuggle a cricket ball in and rubbed it on my forehead.”
Before leaving Hampshire, he helped them secure victory over Warwickshire in the 2012 Clydesdale Bank 40 final by bowling a tight last over. He was also part of their Champions League t20 squad in South Africa nearly a month later, playing one of their two matches.
Photo: PA Images