LONDON // The Pakistan fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar could make his Surrey debut on Thursday after agreeing a short-term deal with the English County Championship Division One strugglers. Shoaib, who has not played for Pakistan this year, will be aiming to help the top-flight's bottom club bridge the 18-point gap between them and those above them when Surrey take on Kent in a four-day game which begins at Canterbury.
Shoaib, who has also played for Somerset, Durham and Worcestershire, said: "I am delighted to have been recruited by Surrey. "I wanted to go much earlier, but an endorsement in India and then my mother's illness delayed my departure," he said. "I am fully fit and have lost some weight which would help me bowl at least 15 to 20 overs in an innings. It's late summer in England so the weather would be perfect and I would do my best to help the team win all three matches."
Shoaib - who played the last of his 46 Tests in December, shortly after his final one-day international - was recalled to the Pakistan squad for the Champions Trophy, which should have taken place next month but has been postponed because of security concerns. Australia pulled out of a scheduled series in March this year due to security concerns and a three-match one-day series against New Zealand was also scrapped.
"We have no Tests this year which is disappointing," added Shoaib. "So it is a great chance to play a few county games. Surrey is a great county and one of my idols Waqar Younis played for them in the past, so it is a great honour and privilege." Shoaib's move to Surrey has also received the backing of the Pakistan Cricket Board. * PA Sport