Test ace’s sentimental St Annes return

Atiq Uz-Zaman makes a return to St Annes
Atiq Uz-Zaman makes a return to St Annes

St Annes CC are preparing to welcome back a familiar, formidable cricketer to their ranks in former Pakistan Test batsman Atiq-Uz-Zaman.

He had a successful spell at Vernon Road from 2007 and 2012 and is scheduled to return to bolster St Annes’ Northern Premier League campaign in early July.

The 41-year-old wicketkeeper/batsman played one Test for Pakistan in 2000 as well as three one-day internationals.

He is in England for part of the summer and when he offered his services to St Annes club officials were more than happy to take him up on it.

Atiq remains a popular figure at St Annes, scoring more than 1,000 runs in one season and helping them to two Northern Premier League titles before moving to Westhoughton.

St Annes chairman of cricket Dave Hopkinson said: “It was Atiq who approached us.

“He is 41 now and it will almost certainly be his last season and he wanted to finish it at St Annes; it is a bit of sentimental attachment from his point of view.

“He had some good seasons for us, not just getting 1,000 runs in one season, but five or six centuries.

“We are delighted that he will playing for us, probably from around July 1.

“He is very experienced and that can only help the young players in our squad - it is going to be a massive help to us.”

St Annes will be looking to employ a substitute professional for teenager Matthew Breetzke, who will be returning to South Africa in three weeks’ time to play for South Africa’s Under-19s in a one-day international series against the West Indies.

Breetzke will be absent for a month.

Cricket chairman Hopkinson said: “Matthew is settling in and started off with a 96, but he is having to deal with conditions that he has not encountered before back home in South Africa.”