West Indies fast bowler Shannon Gabriel will replace Saeed Ajmal for Worcestershire’s last two matches of the County Championship.
Ajmal will return to Pakistan after next week’s game against Sussex. Gabriel will be available for the matches against Durham and Middlesex, provided he gets a No Objection Certificate from the West Indies Cricket Board.
The 27-year old right-arm fast bowler, who has recently been playing for the St. Lucia Zouks in the Caribbean Premier League, has played 14 Tests for West Indies and has taken 32 wickets at an average of 35.81.
Worcestershire currently are four points behind Sussex and are second from the bottom in the Championship. Their remaining matches will be critical in deciding whether they remain a First Division side or not. In the recent past, West Indies has seen two other players play for Worcestershire – Kemar Roach in 2011 and Andre Russell in 2013.
“This will be my first taste of county cricket and I am looking forward to the challenge of keeping Worcestershire in Division One of the Championship,” said Gabriel in a Worcestershire statement.
“I know it is only for two matches but I am hoping to make a big contribution.”
Worcestershire director of cricket Steve Rhodes said: “We are hoping with the extra pace he has, a 90 miles an hour bowler, he will just give us something slightly different. We are looking forward to him playing a part for the last two matches and hopefully making a difference.
“It is not easy for any bowler just coming in for two games but if you are looking for someone who can make an impact as a strike bowler, then Shannon is an ideal man. I’ve admired his pace and he has played in some games where he has bowled quicker balls in the day than Mitchell Johnson and Mitchell Starc so that is testament to what pace he has got,” Rhodes added.
“We just hope he can repeat some of that in the Championship fixtures. The ball tends to move around a bit at Durham so that we might be a good option there and we will see what we’ve got at Worcester for the last game.”