Azhar, Shafiq eye county stints with Somerset, Surrey

Duo looking to increase game-time before next series against Austarlia and New Zealand in October

Azhar, Shafiq eye county stints with Somerset, Surrey Photo: AFP

Pakistan’s Azhar Ali and Asad Shafiq are looking to get much-needed game-time by playing county cricket and are currently looking for stints with clubs interested in their services.

Somerset and Surrey are believed to be the two counties Azhar and Shafiq are in talks with; the county sides are looking to replace Matt Renshaw and Virat Kohli respectively.

According to ESPNcricinfo, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is also actively helping the duo to play county cricket as they want the players to continue playing and not just wait and watch till the next series.

"Our chosen players, we're hoping to get Azhar and Asad to play some county cricket," said Pakistan head coach Mickey Arthur, according to ESPNcricinfo. "There is a little bit of interest at the moment, for a short period of time. Because those guys don't go to these [T20] leagues and stuff, if they were to play county cricket we'd certainly encourage that."

Azhar and Shafiq did not enjoy fruitful outings on the tour of Ireland and England and that is down to the fact that the players are not getting that much game-time.

The last Test Pakistan played, and which Azhar and Shafiq featured, was in October and the next Test that Pakistan play will also be played in October, so Azhar and Shafiq will not be getting any match practice during this time and this is something that is frustrating Arthur.

"Yeah that's always the challenge," said Arthur. "You sort of don't know what they go back to. We have player plans for everybody so I'd know where everybody is at any given time.

"But I know Azhar Ali, I know Asad Shafiq, I know their work ethic. Everybody knows the standards they have to meet. When they arrive to the team, they will be there physically, mentally and technically because they have to be. That is the criteria we set for them.

"I'd love to see them do county cricket. It is more time for them playing cricket and that's got to be beneficial to us,” he said.