Abdul Razzaq may not be familiar with the names of all of his new Leicestershire team-mates, but the Pakistan all-rounder didn’t waste any time in showing his potential value to their Friends Life t20 campaign.
“Well played to my colleague Mr White,” Razzaq said after smashing an unbeaten 62 from 30 balls to secure a memorable four-wicket win against a Lancashire team who were previously unbeaten in the competition.
The tall former Derbyshire all-rounder Wayne White deserved that praised for playing an intelligent supporting role after joining new signing Razzaq with the Foxes apparently doomed on 99 for six – but Wayne is not a common name in Lahore.
Razzaq only arrived at Heathrow at lunchtime on the day before, and hasn’t practised in earnest for weeks because of the stifling temperatures at home. But he adjusted astonishingly to the very different climate of a miserable Manchester night to play a memorable match-winning innings.
“I thought we were dead and buried until Abdul came in and played a fantastic innings,” admitted Leicestershire’s captain Matthew Hoggard. “He was sat in the dug-out talking about getting ones and twos, then he went out and smacked it all over the place. He only got off the plane the afternoon before and drove up to Leicester, but he also bowled a fantastic first two overs.”
Leicestershire are Razzaq’s fifth English county, and Lancashire are no strangers to the damage he can do with the bat – he hit an uncannily similar innings of 61 from 31 balls against them for Middlesex at Lord’s in a National League game in 2003, although Lancashire won that game even though Razzaq also took three for 48.
Hoggard also praised the less spectacular contribution of the Foxes’ other overseas player, Andrew McDonald, who anchored their pursuit of a Duckworth-Lewis adjusted target of 165 from 19 overs with 57 from 40 balls.
When McDonald was dismissed by Gary Keedy, Leicestershire looked doomed. But now they have won two games out of three, and are in buoyant mood ahead of two home games as they aim to recapture the county’s former t20 glories.