Name - Hassan Azad
Squad Number - 42
Born - Quetta, Pakistan, January 7, 1994
Joined - 2019
Role - Left-hand batsman, right-arm off-spin bowler
Teams Represented – Leicestershire
Left-handed batsman Hassan Azad signed his first professional contract at Leicestershire CCC at the start of the 2019 season after impressing greatly in the Second XI in 2018.
The opening batsman, who has played first-class cricket for Loughborough MCCU, was previously on the Nottinghamshire CCC Academy,
Azad made his Loughborough MCCU debut in 2015, and scored 306 first-class runs in ten innings at 34.00, with a highest score of 99 prior to the 2019 campaign.
The left-hander scored a match-winning 179 not out against Kent for Leicestershire Second XI in the 50-over friendly last year, and contributed 367 runs at 52.42 in 11 Second XI Championship innings.
Azad trained with the First XI over the winter, and batted well in an intra squad game in pre-season, earning his place in the opening first-class team of the season against Loughborough MCCU.
He then earned himself his first professional contract within cricket as Paul Nixon offered him a contract at the Uptonsteel County Ground. Azad went straight into the top order as he came in as number 3 against Sussex CCC in the opening round win away at Hove, as he posted his maiden County Championship half-century on his County Championship debut.
Azad's season then went from strengt- to-strength and was soon opening the batting alongside skipper Paul Horton.
The left-hand bat's best day at the crease came during the home fixture against Gloucestershire CCC where he posted back-to-back ton's including his maiden County Championship century in the draw.
His third and final century of the 2019 season came in the return fixture against Gloucestershire at the Cheltenham Cricket Festival.
Azad ended the 2019 season as the second-highest run scorer in the entire County Championship, and top-run scorer in Division 2 with 1,189 runs at an average of 54.04. He picked up four awards at the 2019 End of Season Awards including Players’ Player of the Year, Fans Player of the Year, County Championship Player of the Year and the Livingston Cup for Outstanding Batting Performance for his 137 and 100* against Gloucestershire CCC at the Uptonsteel County Ground.
Azad's truncated 2020 Bob Willis Trophy failed to hit the heights of his debut County Championship season the year prior, however, he played a pivotal role in the Running Foxes' opening round win against Lancashire CCC after posting a first innings total of 58. His first wicket partnership with Ben Slater was the first 100-run first wicket stand for Leicestershire against Lancashire since Tim Boon and Nigel Briers back in 1993.
Check Hassan's career stats, HERE.