Published: 16:00, 05 June 2017
Kent have signed Pakistan bowler Yasir Shah, the world’s top-ranked Test leg-spinner, for four Specsavers County Championship matches.
The 31-year-old is set to make his debut at The Spitfire Ground on Thursday when second-placed Kent entertain Durham seeking to continue their unbeaten start to Division 2, which has seen them win four of their opening five matches.
He is also available for the trips to third-placed Worcestershire and leaders Nottinghamshire before taking on Northamptonshire at The County Ground, Beckenham on July 3-6.
Yasir is the second fastest bowler of all-time to take 100 wickets in Test cricket, achieving the feat in just 17 matches and was top of the ICC Test bowler rankings last summer.
He has been in fine form, taking 46 wickets in two three-Test series for Pakistan against West Indies in 2016 and 2017, earning him both Player of the Series awards.
Yasir Shah said: “I’m very happy to return to England and play county cricket for the first time.
“I’ve heard positive things about the county and hope to contribute to the team. I’ve enjoyed my previous visits to England and look forward to playing in front of the Kent supporters at Canterbury and Beckenham.”
Head coach Matt Walker said: “Yasir is one of the finest spinners in the world and will add something different to our attack.
“Taking 20 wickets consistently in red-ball cricket will be key to our promotion chances and a bowler of Yasir’s calibre will help to us achieve that and rotate our attack at a key period in the season.”
Yasir follows the capture of Adam Milne - set to arrive within the next three weeks - and the early-season stint of South African Wayne Parnell at Kent this summer.
Walker couldn’t hide his excitement last month at the signing of ‘explosive world star’ and New Zealand fast bowler Milne for the second half of Kent’s season.
The 25-year-old is part of the Kiwi squad at the ICC Champions Trophy but could make his debut in Kent’s Championship game at Worcester on June 19 with their NatWest T20 Blast campaign beginning on July 9.
Milne – who played for Royal Challengers Bangalore in this year’s IPL – burst onto the scene with the New Zealand limited overs teams in 2010 but has been hampered by injury in the past two years, which prevented him taking on an overseas role at Essex last season.