SHOAIB AKHTAR, the fastest bowler in the world, has agreed to play for Durham for the remainder of the summer. Shoaib replaces the fast bowler, Dewald Pretorius, who was a surprise inclusion in South Africa's squad for their tour of England.

Shoaib, who has taken 88 wickets at 27.18 in 25 Tests, and 142 at 21.2 in 86 one-day internationals, is the only player to have officially broken the 100mph barrier for bowling.

"This is excellent news for Durham," said Bill Midgley, Durham's chairman. "Losing Dewald was a big miss for us but signing the first bowler to bowl at 100 mph is fantastic — let's see if he can do it at the Riverside and get everyone off their seats!"

Durham's captain Jon Lewis was equally excited by the news. "I'm delighted Shoaib is joining us," he said. "He's a very exciting prospect. Shoaib was very keen to come here and that is great for Durham. He's capable of producing devastating spells of fast bowling and I'm really looking forward to playing alongside him."