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Saqlain rejoins Surrey ranks

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Saqlain Mushtaq

Saqlain Mushtaq is returning to the Brit Oval © Getty Images

Pakistan off-spinner Saqlain Mushtaq will be returning to Surrey on a two-year deal from next season.

The 30-year-old, who is now English-qualified, originally joined Surrey in 1997 and helped the club to three County Championship titles in four years, but towards the end of the 2005 season he succumbed to a knee injury and was forced to take an extended break from the game.

After a stint with Ireland in 2006, he was offered the chance to play at Sussex in 2007 and in four championship matches for the eventual champions, he took 18 wickets at the excellent average of 17.55.

During the period of 1997-2005 when Saqlain was with Surrey, he proved to be one of the most devastating bowlers the club has seen.

In just 80 matches he took 384 wickets at the incredible average of 20.79, which included 30 five-wicket hauls.

The signing of Saqlain will bolster the Surrey spin bowling ranks especially after the emergence this season of leg-spinner Chris Schofield, who also recently signed a new two-year deal with the club.

Commenting on the signing, Surrey cricket manager, Alan Butcher said: “It is with great pleasure that we welcome back a Surrey legend.

"Saqlain, as Surrey fans know, is a proven international quality spinner. To be securing his services as a local player is a huge bonus and I can’t wait to watch him weaving his magic in 2008.”

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