Pakistan international Faheem Ashraf will return to Northamptonshire for the opening half of the 2020 season.

The allrounder featured for the Steelbacks in the 2019 Vitality Blast, finishing the club’s joint-leading wicket taker with 11 scalps at an average of 19. A regular in Pakistan’s white-ball teams, Faheem also boasts an impressive first-class record and Head Coach David Ripley believes Faheem will contribute to the side with both bat and ball.

“He’s a little bit different bowling wise to what we currently have, he’s got a little bit more pace, he’s a swing bowler and he’s got a batting average of 30.” said Ripley.

“I think the key element for Faheem is although we signed him for white ball cricket this year it was pretty clear to see he could bat properly. He’s played test match cricket for Pakistan so he’s a genuine three formats cricketer.”

Red ball captain Adam Rossington echoed the thoughts of Ripley.

“I think he’s definitely a genuine allrounder, he’s a very good batsman and though we didn’t get to see him bat too many times in the T20 we know he’ll slot in well.”

“He’s very skilful and offers something a little bit different to the bowlers we’ve got. It does tend to be a bit more bowler friendly here than in Pakistan, particularly with the Dukes ball so hopefully early season there’ll be a bit in the wickets for him.”

Northamptonshire’s opening duo of Ben Sanderson and Brett Hutton have excelled this year, sharing nearly 100 wickets between them. David Ripley is hoping Faheem will compliment them and offer something extra when conditions begin to favour the batsmen.

“The fact he’s got the extra pace is key, we’ve got a very fine group of seam bowlers that got us into Division 1 and that’s not going to change. But when it’s a bit flatter and it’s the last 2 days of the game and that little bit of nip has gone out of the wicket, someone with a bit of pace and swing and bowling yorkers then I can see him being a genuine threat when the wickets are flatter.” said Ripley.

“What the seam bowlers in Pakistan tend to have to do is find a way to get people out when those wickets are very flat and pretty slow. That’s with swing, that’s with Yorkers and bouncers, that’s with reverse swing.”

Faheem is available for selection in all-forms of cricket until the end of the 2020 Vitality Blast group stages subject to NOC clearance.