Shakib agrees to act as stand-in for absent Ajmal

Bangladesh all rounder Shakib Al Hasan is set to make his first County Championship appearance of the season against Hampshire at New Road on Saturday June 18.

Shakib was expected to play only Twenty20 cricket during his brief second spell with Worcestershire but he will be pressed into service for a four-day match because of continuing delays in the arrival of Pakistan off-spinner Saeed Ajmal.

Worcestershire hoped that Ajmal would arrive in England in time for him to play in the Friends Life t20 local derby against Warwickshire at Edgbaston on Friday June 17.

But Ajmal has yet to have his passport returned from Abu Dhabi where it was sent to enable the paperwork for his visa to be processed.

“We have been informed by his agent that his visa application has definitely been completed, although taken longer than expected due to his travels around the world,” said Worcestershire chief executive David Leatherdale.

“The passport is now on its way back to Pakistan overnight directly to Saeed and should be with him tomorrow.

“He will then be jumping on the first plane to arrive sometime over the weekend. It is unlikely, therefore, that he will be here for Friday or Saturday so Shakib will play in his place.”

Ironically, Ajmal was in the United Kingdom barely two weeks ago playing for Pakistan in two one-day internationals against Ireland in Belfast.

But he had to return to Pakistan before he could start the visa application process which has delayed his first appearance in county cricket.

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