Heywood have swooped to appoint Pakistan batsman Asif Zakir as deputy professional for the opening fixture of the Central Lancashire League season.
He will replace Farhaan Behardien as the paid man for the trip to Littleborough on Sunday. Behardien had been expected last week, but visa delays due to his late arrival back in South Africa from the World T20 means he will not arrive until next week.
Zakir has made his reputation both in first class cricket and, more importantly for the task ahead, at league level. Zakir was professional at top side Greenmount for three years prior to his switch to Austerlands this season and has been a heavy run scorer.
The 31-year-old is held in high regard by Karachi fans.
Zakir is a quality performer, able to score heavily from the top of the order. In Pakistan late last year, he led Karachi Dolphins to the One Day Cup title, hitting a brilliant, unbeaten 170 in the final on New Year’s Eve to follow a century in the semis. Details can be found here.
Cricket chairman David Fare believes Heywood have made a good appointment for a tough trip to Hare Hill. Wickets at the east Lancs outpost are always bowler-friendly early season, so a player with Zakir’s experience should have a good chance of coping with the moving ball.
Fare said: “He comes highly-recommended from people I have spoken to.
“Greenmount were very happy with him and signed him for three seasons. Their policy is not to keep professionals on for more than two years, so they rate Zakir highly.”
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