Wasim Akram happy to sign for Hampshire

Pakistan's ace paceman Wasim Akram (Pic. below, Reuters) said the attitude of Hampshire had been a key factor in his signing for the southern English county.

Fast-bowling all-rounder Akram, 36, who at the World Cup became the first player in history to take 500 one-day international wickets, said: "I was impressed by the enthusiasm and ideas shown by Hampshire and am delighted to join such a progressive county."

And Hampshire manager Paul Terry believes Akram's experience will be of immense value in helping the county bounce back to the first division of the County Championship following last season's relegation.

"We hope his experience will rub off on our youngsters," former Hampshire and England opening batsman Terry said.

"He is a world-class player — and we have the big-name signing we were looking for."

Once a mainstay of the Lancashire attack, Wasim became one of Hampshire's overseas players — Australia batsman Simon Katich is the other — after his fast bowling international team-mate Shoaib Akhtar pulled out due to international commitments.

Now that Hampshire stalwart and former England middle order batsman Robin Smith has resigned the County captaincy, Akram could even find himself leading his new side.