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Hants sign former Notts batsman
5:28pm Wednesday 9th May 2012 in Sport
Hampshire have signed Bilal Shafayat on a short-term deal – and he could make his debut tomorrow.
The former England Under-19 captain is in contention to face LV County Championship division two leaders Derbyshire, despite being registered after the scheduled start, following the abandonment of the first day.
His opportunity comes with Michael Carberry expected to be on England Lions duty today and is reward for several impressive performances for Hampshire’s 2nd XI.
Shafayat scored a double century for Hampshire in the Second Eleven Championship last season and top-scored in both innings of last week’s game against Essex.
Released by Nottinghamshire at the end of 2010, he began this season as Shropshire’s professional in the Minor Counties Championship.
He will need no introduction to new teammate Simon Katich, who was in the Australia team infuriated by Shafayat during his 12th man role at the end of the opening match of the 2009 Ashes.
Twice Shafayat came on, sparking a volatile response from Australia captain Ricky Ponting during the tense denouement to Cardiff’s first Test, which saw last-wicket pair James Anderson and Monty Panesar famously deny the Aussies victory.
Shafayat will hope to help Katich improve a side that has secured just one batting point in the Championship so far this season.
He has no formal contract but will be available on a match-by-match basis during a crucial period for Hampshire, which includes a clash against Yorkshire at Headingley next week.
Still only 27, Shafayat averages 29.7 in first-class cricket.
Hampshire manager Giles White said: “Bilal will provide back-up for our batting line-up over the next few games. Having missed Jimmy Adams and Michael Carberry for different reasons in the last few matches we thought it wise to have some additional strength in depth.
“I’m sure Bilal will be able to step into the side should he be required.”