Surrey in search for Saqlain substitute

Surrey are one brick away from completing their rebuilding process under Steve Rixon after the Pakistani pair, Azhar Mahmood and Mohammad Akram, signed deals yesterday.

Rixon, who led New South Wales to four Sheffield Shields and a handful of one-day titles as coach, is now looking for a spinner to complete his signings for next season as Saqlain Mushtaq - who missed almost all of last season - requires surgery on both knees.

Mushtaq, another Pakistani, has spent the past seven summers in south London, and few in the world can match the quality of the 27-year-old off-spinner.

The fast-bowling department is now complete after all-rounder Mahmood signed a 12-month deal and his former Test team-mate Akram, who left Sussex last week, committed for the next three summers. Akram replaces Alex Tudor, who was recently released. Mahmood has spent three years at The Oval, to considerable success, while Akram claimed 46 first-class wickets in 2004.

The spinner Nayan Doshi and the batsman Richard Clinton have been rewarded with two-year deals.

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