Glamorgan stump up to sign Waqar

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The Independent Online
Glamorgan have clean bowled some of the more fashionable counties by signing the Pakistani paceman Waqar Younis yesterday on a reported pounds 200,000 two-year contract.

Waqar, who helped Pakistan clinch a 2-0 win in the Test series against England which finished on Monday, said: "They seem a very ambitious club with some very good players and with a clear idea of how I would fit into their plans. I am sure all they need is a catalyst to bring some success, and hopefully I will be able to play my part in helping them achieve that.

"I know just how much Viv Richards did for Glamorgan and if I can achieve the same in my two years in Wales, I will be delighted."

The Glamorgan captain, Matthew Maynard, who will face Waqar in the three- match Texaco one-day series against Pakistan that starts tomorrow, was delighted: "This is possibly the best signing Glamorgan has made. Waqar is a genuinely world-class cricketer at the peak of his game."

The Glamorgan secretary, Mike Firth, said: "The figures reported do not tell the whole story but although you have to pay a premium to attract a player of this calibre, we have not gone in with our eyes closed. There has been a lot of support, without which a coup of this sort would simply not have been possible. We see it very much as an investment - a statement of the ambition we have as a club."

Graham Gooch is to continue to play county cricket for at least another year, Essex said yesterday.

Gooch, 43, has scored six centuries this summer, taking his first-class career total to 126 while taking his beloved Essex to the top of the Championship table and into the NatWest Trophy final against Lancashire a week on Saturday. In the process he became Essex's leading run-maker, his 92 against Middlesex earlier this month taking him beyond Keith Fletcher's aggregate of 29,434.

Since making his first-class debut in 1973, Gooch has amassed 43,957 runs and stands in the top 10 of the game's most prolific scorers. Before announcing his retirement from Test cricket two years ago, Gooch played 118 times for England, scoring 20 centuries and 8,900 runs - still the top aggregate by an England player. Now a selector, he will be with the England 'A' side in Australia this winter.

In recent weeks there has been rumours linking him with a coaching job at Nottinghamshire and Lancashire. He has made no secret of his desire to remain in the game in that capacity, and Essex would certainly not stand in his way should one come along.

"As far as we are concerned, Graham would have our blessing if he saw fit to move elsewhere to fulfil his ambition," said Peter Edwards, the Essex secretary-general manager. "After everything he has done and accomplished for Essex, there is no way we would ever prevent him moving on if that was his wish. In the meantime, we are just happy to still be having him as a player."

The England batsman Nasser Hussain could lead Essex in the County Championship match against Yorkshire at Headingley tomorrow as the captain, Paul Prichard, is doubtful with a back injury.