YORKSHIRE suffered a twin blow yesterday with the news that new signing Mitchell Starc has been deported and former fast bowler Ajmal Shahzad has signed for arch-rivals Lancashire.
Australian left-arm quick Starc was on a flight back Down Under yesterday evening after an unsuccessful meeting with the UK Border Agency at Heathrow following an issue with his visa.
He therefore misses today’s County Championship match against Gloucestershire at Bristol, but is confident of being able to make his White Rose bow in next week’s match with Hampshire at Headingley.
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As Starc was boarding a plane, Shahzad was training with the county champions at Hove after signing for the rest of the season.
Lancashire have taken advantage of a breakdown in the relationship between Shahzad and Yorkshire to secure the 26-year-old’s services on loan with the view to a permanent move.
He follows Gary Keedy and David Byas as the most recent players to make the switch across the Pennines.
The one-time England Test player, his appearance ironically at Old Trafford against Bangladesh in 2010, received some abuse on social networking site Twitter from angry Yorkshire fans.
But he tweeted: “Great feeling to be back into cricket. Appreciate Lancashire having me on a loan agreement until the end of the season.”
He was accused of not being a team player by Yorkshire chairman Colin Graves during a press conference at Scarborough last week.
“That’s something we’re going to stay out of,” said Lancashire coach Peter Moores.
“We’re going to take him as we find him.
“Everybody I’ve spoken to about Ajmal suggests he’s a very passionate and committed cricketer, which is what I think we’ve got.
“I think he wants to play at a county where he thinks he can settle, fit in and express himself as a player. I think we can provide that for him, and it will be exciting to watch him develop over the next few months.
“We’ve got a very good cricketer who’s bursting to play and has a really positive outlook on the game.
“What I like about him when you speak to him is that he wants to get out and play and become better as a cricketer.
That’s what we’ll try and help him to do. Our culture is to better players, which hopefully manifests itself into results.
Starc also took to twitter, but his thoughts were of frustration: “Well that’s a first!
Being deported from England.
Surely nothing else can go wrong can it?
“Visa issue. Incorrect communication from Aus. Will be straight back to UK ASAP once sorted in time for next game. Disappointed I won’t get to play, but good luck to the lads.”
Yorkshire, who appear to be faultless in the process, have blamed Cricket Australia for incorrectly filling out a form as part of the 22 year-old’s visa application, which initially led to him being detained for between four and five hours upon arrival at Heathrow on Saturday.
In a statement yesterday, Yorkshire said: “Following Mitchell Starc attending an appointment with the UK Border Agency this afternoon, he has been instructed to return to Australia in order to complete the necessary visa documentation.
“The problem was as a result of the incorrect advice given to him in Australia.”
It follows hot on the heels of visa problems preventing some of the West Indies Test team entering the UK last week.
However, it is understood Andrew Gale and Jason Gillespie would have rested Starc from the Gloucester game even had he got his visa sorted due to the helper-skelter nature of his first stay in England.