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Pakistan batsman Akmal joins Foxes for T20 blast

Leicestershire have signed Pakistan batsman Umar Akmal as cover for part of this summer's NatWest T20 Blast.

Pakistans Umar Akmal plays a shot during the one day international (ODI) match between Afghanistan and Pakistan in February 2014 Credit: PA

Akmal has come in to cover for overseas signing Grant Elliott during New Zealand's one-day international series against England and will play four games in June - including a possible meeting with his international team-mate Shahid Afridi when Northamptonshire visit Grace Road on June 12.

Akmal was part of Pakistan's World Cup squad and has a prolific record in Twenty20 cricket, with a top score of 94 and a strike rate of 128.65.

The 24-year-old said: "This will be my first time playing T20 for a county and I am very excited to be handed this opportunity. The club have put their trust in me so I will give my 100 per cent efforts to repay their faith."

Leicester head coach Andrew McDonald said: "It is brilliant that we are signing a player of Umar's quality for when Grant is on international duty with New Zealand. We are all looking forward to him showcasing his skills over the course of the four games."

Moeen Ali to be cover star of Wisden Almanack

Moeen Ali Credit: DAVE HUNT/AAP/Press Association Images

Worcestershire County Cricket Club's Moeen Ali is to be the cover star of this year's Wisden Almanack.

The 27-year-old played his first game of international cricket last February, but this shows an indication of the stirring impact Moeen made on English cricket in the past 12 months.

The book is published annually in the UK.


Edgbaston confirms Day 3 sell out for 3rd Ashes Test

Tickets for Day 3 of next year’s 3rd Investec Ashes Test Match at Edgbaston Stadium have sold out - just nine days after being released on public sale.

The Ashes return to Birmingham on 29 July 2015 Credit: PA

The Ashes return to Birmingham between 29 July and 2 August next summer, with Alastair Cook’s England team looking to avenge the 2013/14 series defeat in Australia by reclaiming one of the most coveted trophies in world sport.

Gareth Roberts, Commercial Director at Edgbaston, said: “The Ashes is the biggest Test series in the world and next year’s match will be the 14th that has been contested at Edgbaston and the first since completing our £32 million redevelopment of the South Stand.

“Whilst Day 3 has already sold out, we’re fast approaching capacity for Day 4 and we would encourage fans to secure their seats now to avoid missing out on one of the biggest sporting events of 2015.”


Worcestershire sign Alex Gidman from Gloucestershire

Worcestershire have bolstered their squad by signing vastly experienced batsman Alex Gidman from Gloucestershire on a two year contract.

Alex Gidman batting for Gloucester during day one of the LV County Championship Division Two match at New Road, Worcester Credit: PA

Gidman has put pen to paper with the LV= County Championship Division Two leaders until the end of the 2016 season.

The 33-year-old only this week scored a career best 264 for Gloucestershire against Leicestershire at Bristol.

He also impressed Worcestershire Director of Cricket Steve Rhodes when making 145 in Gloucestershire's win at New Road in the Championship last month.

Gidman has scored 23 First Class hundreds and 57 half centuries and amassed 11,000 First Class runs at an average of more than 36.

In addition the High Wycombe-born player has compiled 4,458 List A runs at an average of nearly 28.00.

Rhodes said: "If you look at some of the recent innings he has played, they have been quite outstanding.

"One of them was against us but also to get 260 odd in the current game against Leicestershire is also a fantastic achievement.

"We are getting someone who is in the best form of his career."

England take on India at Edgbaston in fourth ODI

Ian Bell after he was run out in the last match at Trent Bridge Credit: Simon Cooper/PA Wire/Press Association Images

England take on India at Edgbaston in Birmingham today in the fourth One-Day International in their five-match series.

India currently lead the series 2-0, after the first match was abandoned, then winning the second and third matches convincingly.

Warwickshire players Ian Bell and Chris Woakes will be hoping for an improved performance on their home ground.

The last match between the two sides was on Saturday at Nottinghamshire's Trent Bridge, with India winning by 6 wickets.

Derbyshire's Ben Cotton signs new two-year deal

Derbyshire's Ben Cotton celebrates taking the wicket of Indians' Virat Kohli during day two of the Internationa warm up match in July Credit: PA

Derbyshire seamer Ben Cotton has signed a new two-year deal that will keep him at the club until the end of the 2016 season.

The 20-year-old has progressed through the ranks at Derby and has appeared for the limited-overs sides recently, making two Twenty20 appearances and four in the Royal London One-Day Cup - including the quarter-final defeat to Nottinghamshire on Tuesday.

Cotton said: "If you'd told me at the start of the year that I'd make first team debuts in both one-day competitions - and earn a professional contract - I'd have been delighted with that, so it's been a great year."

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