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Pakistan Test opener gets county move after encouragement from Mickey Arthur

Azhar Ali has penned a seven-match deal with Somerset after the county was forced to seek a replacement for the injured batsman Matt Renshaw.

The Pakistan Test opener will see the rest of the season through in Taunton and has a lot to live up to after Renshaw starred with three centuries at the start of the campaign before breaking his finger last month.

Azhar Ali has reaped modest results from the crease this season in Tests against Ireland and England, scoring 73 runs across six innings.

The 33-year-old had been urged by his national team head coach Mickey Arthur to play in England ahead of series against Australia and New Zealand later this year, and now becomes the latest Pakistani international to play for Somerset, following in the footsteps of the likes of Abdul Rehman and Mushtaq Ahmed.

Somerset have enjoyed a great first season under head coach Jason Kerr tasting defeat just once in seven County Championship matches in Division One. Form which sees them lie third in the standings to overturn their candidacy for relegation after surviving on the last day of the season in 2017.

This all despite the terminated deal with Cameron Bancroft in lieu of the ‘sandpaper gate’ and the injury suffered by star spin-bowler Jack Leach.

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