Abbas relishing Lord's return

Leicestershire CCC are Lord’s bound for the first time in eight years as they take on Middlesex CCC in the third Specsavers County Championship fixture of the season.

The Foxes are feeling upbeat following their win of Warwickshire CCC and have an additional boost to the encouraging Specsavers County Championship start with the availability of overseas star Muhammad Abbas.

The Pakistan pace ace had a marvellous introduction to the Home of Cricket in 2018, dismissing Sir Alastair Cook, Joe Root, Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler as part of an eight-wicket match haul against England.

A year later, and Abbas is looking forward to his return. “Of course it was a dream come true - to help your country win at the Home of Cricket and be named Man of the Match is something every player wants, and thanks to the Almighty I achieved it,” Abbas said.

“At the same time, I was a little bit sad not to take five wickets in an innings and get my name on the honours board. But it will be very good to go back with Leicestershire.

“The [Specsavers County Championship] game I played for the Foxes last year before playing for Pakistan in Ireland and England was very important, it helped me to get used to the conditions and I was very grateful for that experience. I used it to help me at Lord’s.”

Abbas was a pivotal player in the 2018 Specsavers County Championship season for the Foxes, taking 50 wickets in total and his presence for Leicestershire CCC will only add to the positive start to the red ball campaign.

After being back in England for two weeks, and getting game time under his belt in the fixtures at the Fischer County Ground against Northamptonshire Steelbacks and Warwickshire CCC in the Royal London One-Day Cup, the Foxes number 26 has reintroduced himself to English conditions.

“Playing in Pakistan [for Multan Sultans in the Pakistan Super League] and for Pakistan against Australia in Dubai and Sharjah, it has been very hot, sometimes 40 or even 45 degrees,” he said.

“So, to bowl and field in ten degrees with a very cold wind is a big difference and I was a bit stiff after bowling against Northants in my first game back. But it was better against Warwickshire, and I am used to it again now.”

Foxes Head Coach Paul Nixon has been excited for the arrival of his opening bowler, and now he is back, can’t wait to see him back in red ball action:

“Mo is bowling beautifully and we hope the conditions down there will suit him, as they did last year when he was playing for Pakistan,” Nixon said.

“Lord’s lifts everybody, it’s an inspirational place, but having good on-field memories makes it even better for a player. He will have that extra confidence and fingers crossed he maintains his record of success there.”