Roach signs for Worcestershire to replace departing Ajmal

Worcestershire have signed West Indies pace bowler Kemar Roach as their overseas player for the closing weeks of the county season.

Roach will replace off-spinner Saeed Ajmal who will depart England earlier than expected to join a Pakistan training camp ahead of their forthcoming tour of Zimbabwe.

Roach will become Worcestershire’s fourth overseas player of the season after Ajmal, Bangladesh all-rounder Shakib al Hasan and Australian seamer Damien Wright.

“I am delighted to sign for Worcestershire CCC and to be able to play county cricket for the first time,” Roach said.

“Growing up in Barbados, every young cricketer aspired to play for the West Indies and to play county cricket. Many of my heroes like Lara, Walsh and Ambrose spent time in the county game and I view it as a huge challenge.

“Even though I am only going to be joining for a short period, I believe this stint gives me the chance to make an impact on the club and on county cricket and hopefully be the start of a long relationship with Worcestershire.”

While the young Barbadian is looking forward to joining his new team for the climax of the 2011 season, Worcestershire’s director of cricket Steve Rhodes said: “To have one of the fastest bowlers in the world in our team for the last few games of the season can only be a huge plus factor. Although it’s a short stint, I know that Kemar is determined to make an impact on the county scene.”

Rhodes, meanwhile, was philosophical about losing Ajmal, whose only County Championship appearance at New Road came in the defeat by Somerset two weeks ago. “We’ve enjoyed Saeed’s involvement with the team and he’s been a model professional both on and off the field,” he said.

“We’d like to thank Saeed for the time he has spent with us, and also for his help in guiding and inspiring some of our younger bowlers. Obviously we were disappointed that he’s had to leave us early but in the hectic international schedule we recognise that international cricket comes first.”

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