Evesham Cricket Club are on the verge of pulling off a remarkable coup with the signing of Mohammad Ashraful as player/coach for the 2008 season.
The Post understands that the Bangladesh captain, the youngest man to score a Test century, has verbally agreed to play in Division Two of the Birmingham League and is expected to arrive in time for the start of the season. The club hope to make an announcement next week.
"It will be fantastic for the club and the whole area," club captain John Gregory said.
Though only 23, Ashraful has played 42 Tests and 111 one-day internationals and can be regarded as one of the most talented batsmen in the world. That maiden century, made on debut as a 16-year-old, came against an attack including Muralitharan and Vaas, while his ODI century at Cardiff led to a shock victory over an Australia team including Glenn McGrath.
Ashraful endured a generally disappointing tour of England in 2005. With Bangladesh returning in 2010, he is keen to familiarise himself with English conditions and it was his agent that contacted the club.
He will be far from the first high-profile player to appear in the Birmingham League in recent years. Kevin Pietersen, Andy Flower, Wasim Akram, Shoaib Akhtar and Steve Waugh are among a long list of Test players to feature.