The seemingly ageless Azhar Mahmood, the former Pakistan all-rounder, has agreed terms with Kent to extend his current contract with the club by another two years.
Details of the contract have not been revealed but Mahmood, who will be 37 next February, has been playing for the last two seasons on a one-day contract – topped up by supplementary payments whenever he is required for County Championship matches.
That has been more often than planned in both the past two summers, as a result both of Kent’s poor luck with injuries to other bowlers and due to Mahmood’s own excellent and consistent form. In 2011 he finished top of Kent’s County Championship batting averages.
In 2011, furthermore, following a promotion to bat at number three, he amassed 485 runs at an average of 40.41 during Kent’s Friends Life t20 campaign, including a maiden t20 ton from just 57 balls against Gloucestershire at Beckenham.
Additionally, in the Clydesdale Bank 40, Mahmood was Kent’s leading wicket-taker, claiming 18 victims in ten appearances at an average of 24.27. With the bat he added 246 runs at an average of 27.33. A firm favourite with Kent supporters, he was voted as their Player of the Season for 2011.
Mahmood initially played county cricket for Surrey, from 2002 to 2007, before signing his first two-year Kent contract in November 2007 and making his debut for the county the following season. He has played 21 Tests and 143 one-day internationals for Pakistan but is now England-qualified through residence and marriage.
Graham Johnson, the Kent chairman of cricket, said: “We are delighted to have re-signed Azhar. He made a fantastic contribution in 2011, finishing top of the batting averages in the County Championship, scoring a fantastic t20 hundred at Beckenham and bowling consistently well in both one-day and Championship cricket.
“Azhar has a wealth of experience in the game and is always keen to share it. This is something that we value very highly, and he has an important role to play in the development of our younger bowlers.”
Mahmood added: “I am so pleased to have agreed the extended contract. I am really looking forward to the next two years. It has taken a while to conclude my contract but I have never had anywhere other than Kent in my thoughts. It is a special club and I truly believe we can achieve great things in the coming years.”