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Notts welcome back Shafayat

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Bilal Shafayat

Bilal Shafayat © Getty Images

Former England Under-19 captain Bilal Shafayat has returned for a second spell at Nottinghamshire.

The 22-year-old batsman left Trent Bridge to join Northamptonshire in 2004 but, after being released from his contract at Wantage Road for family reasons, he is back playing for the county of his birth.

“During the season I tried to focus on my cricket, but once that had finished and I had time to sit and reflect, I came to the conclusion that I wanted to be closer to my family in Nottingham,” said Shafayat, who has signed a three-year contract.

“I am grateful to Northants for agreeing to my release and am glad to have been able to return to Trent Bridge and the county where I grew up.”

Shafayat pinpointed his relationship with Notts supporters and director of cricket Mick Newell as an important factor, adding: “Fans and members have always been supportive and made me feel at home.

Bilal Shafayat

Shafayat thanked Northants for releasing him from his contract © Getty Images

“Now that I’ve signed, I can’t wait to start working again with Mick, Paul Johnson and the rest of the players.

“I’m really excited about playing at my home ground next season and continuing to improve as a cricketer.”

Newell added: “I’m very pleased that Bilal wants to return and we are glad to welcome him back.

“He’s a Nottingham lad and is close to his family, who are still living here. That has been an important factor in his return.

“Under different circumstances, I don’t think he would have left in the first place, but he has definitely had more opportunities to play first-class cricket than we would have been able to offer him, and I’m sure that will have helped him advance his game.

“His talent has always been clear and I see him becoming a top-quality number four in the end, but he does also offer the option of wicketkeeping in one-day matches if Chris Read is not available.”

Shafayat, who was selected for an England A tour of India in 2003-04, has scored 3,277 first-class runs at an average of 31.81 in 61 matches, including six hundreds, with a highest score of 161.

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