London, May 2 (TNS): Derbyshire have signed Pakistani fast-bowler Wahab Riaz for ten matches of this year’s Vitality T20 Blast campaign, a sports website quoting club confirmed on Wednesday.
The 32 year-old’s first match for Derbyshire will be against Lancashire Lightning on July 6 and he will play ten matches before he heads off to the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) to play for Barbados Tridents.
The left-arm quick’s signing mitigates the loss of New Zealand spinner Mitchell Santner who has been ruled out of an agreed stint with the county because of knee surgery.
Riaz has played 27 T20Is for Pakistan, although has not played for the national team in any format since a Test against Sri Lanka in October 2017, and has previously played for Essex, Kent and Surrey on the county cricket. In all, Riaz has taken 197 wickets from 167 T20 matches, conceding runs at 7.11 runs an over, and was in good form during the recent Pakistan Super League.
Derbyshire Cricket Advisor, Kim Barnett said: “Wahab is a quick and highly-skilled fast bowler who will bring a wealth of experience to our Vitality Blast campaign. He has played in some of the biggest competitions in the world and represented Pakistan at the highest level. We wanted to bring in a proven bowler who can complement the crop of talented bowlers we already have and we’re delighted to secure Wahab for the first 10 games this summer.”
Following a concerted attempt to improve their short format cricket, Derbyshire’s T20 campaign last year was a marked improvement on their previous efforts in the tournament. Under John Wright, their T20 coach, they finished second in the North Group with eight victories from 14 matches, although they were hammered by a Shahid Afridi inspired Hampshire in the quarter-finals.
The county will be hoping to continue that resurgence and Riaz’s arrival will add to a strong looking Derbyshire bowling attack this term which will also include West Indian Ravi Rampaul and South Africa’s Hardus Viljoen who have signed with the club on Kolpak deals. There is also the possibility that the county may add yet another overseas player for the campaign.
“I’m really excited to be joining Derbyshire for the Vitality Blast,” said Riaz. “They had a terrific 2017 campaign and from what I’ve heard they want to progress further this year. I hope I can play my part in a successful side and use my experience to help the squad in any way I can.”