- County Cricket
Shah ends first-class career
Owais Shah has retired from first-class cricket to pursue a career in the limited-overs formats, including being a Twenty20 freelance around the world, and Essex are hopeful of having him back for one-day cricket in 2014.
Shah, 34, who played six Tests for England, joined Essex from Middlesex in 2010 and signed off his first-class career with a century against Glamorgan last week.
"I have really enjoyed my Championship cricket career. I started off playing four-day cricket for Middlesex and my main aim was to play for England," Shah said. "I have achieved this but now as time goes on I would rather concentrate on the shorter forms of the game. It's time for the young guys at Essex to come through in the first-team squad and it's important that I don't stand in their way."
He already has considerable T20 experience around the globe appearing for Cape Cobras, Delhi Daredevils, Dhaka Gladiators, Hobart Hurricanes, Kochi Tuskers, Kolkata Knight Riders, and Rajasthan Royals. In his 192 T20 matches he has scored 4811 runs at 34.61 with a strike-rate of 126.80.
"He's had a marvellous career," Paul Grayson, the Essex coach, said. "We're keen to sit down with him and discuss options for one-day cricket next year. We'd like him to sign for us in the T20s and 50-over cricket."
Ravi Bopara, Shah's Essex team-mate, had let slip the news last week on Twitter: "Congrats to Owais Shah on a GREAT first class career," he posted on September 20. "Finished with a fine century today. 45 first class 100s & a great man. Will be missed."
Although Shah remains available for all one-day formats, it is T20 where he will need to make his living. Simon Jones, the Glamorgan quick, recently opted for the T20 route as he shelved longer-form one-day cricket after an injury-hit career.
While for a 34-year-old like Shah, who has considered his international days behind him, the decision may not have been overly difficult to come to, it is different for players at earlier stages in their careers.
Nottinghamshire are due to have talks with Alex Hales and Michael Lumb, England's Twenty20 opening pair, once the season has finished to try and find a way of accommodating their desire to appear in the IPL which Nottinghamshire blocked for the 2013 season.
Hales, currently ranked the No. 1 Twenty20 international batsman, in particular has not made any secret of his keenness to try and secure an IPL contract and, after a poor season in the County Championship, has even hinted that focussing on Twenty20 may be the direction his career takes.