Bury St Edmunds captain Tom Huggins has backed new arrival Shahzaib Hasan to help steer the club East Anglian Premier League safety.
The 23-year-old Pakistani, who has represented his country in a host of One Day Internationals and Twenty20 encounters, the last of which came against South Africa in 2010, has signed an initial short-term deal until mid-July with plans in place to remain until the end of the season.
Although the right-handed batsman could not inspire Bury to their first victory of the season in his debut against Saffron Walden, in which the sides settled for a draw, Huggins is confident Hasan can have the same impact as last season’s overseas professional Abishek Jhunjhunwala and help the club avoid the drop.
“We’re hoping he will certainly have an impact at the club,” he said.
“He is a free-scoring batsman and someone who will add depth to our batting line-up.
“Players with his calibre are always a welcome addition, we’re very pleased.
“From what I’ve seen of him he looks very good and struck the ball nicely.
“He’s an aggressive batsman and one we’re confident has the ability to change games.
“Hopefully he will have the same impact as Abi last season in helping us to move away from the relegation zone.
“When you have a pro in your team others raise their game and play with less pressure, ultimately that is why you have a pro so hopefully that will be the case.
“He seems to have fitted in really easily and gets on with the dressing room so we have high hopes for him to be honest.”
Last week’s match saw Bury spurn probably their biggest chance of a maiden victory having their opponents at 83-8 in the latter stages before the visitors hung on in the remaining overs to frustrate their hosts to a draw.
Huggins conceded his frustration at not seeing out the match but remains confident of victory away at Burwell tomorrow (11am) despite remaining rooted to the foot of the league table and seeing Bury’s hosts go into the encounter on the back of morale-boosting 20-run success over defending champions and league leaders Swardeston last time out.
“Credit to Walden, they held on extremely well, but I think we may have rushed number of balls hoping the wickets would come instead of focusing on each delivery,” he added.
“Having not won a game this season does play on the mind and you can start to get a bit desperate, but we are getting into positions to win games and so that is a positive.
“Burwell will be another tough game for us and they are one of those teams where you are never quite sure what will be in front of you, they can be extremely unpredictable.
“However, despite that we are looking forward to the match and will certainly be backing ourselves to claim the win.”
n League rivals Woolpit will be looking for a second consecutive win in the EAPL when they host league leaders Swardeston tomorrow (11am).
Despite their opponent's lofty position, Mike Jones' side will go into the encounter with confidence after sealing a five-wicket success over Vauxhall Mallards on Saturday.
n Meanwhile, Suffolk get back to Minor Counties Championship Eastern Division action on Sunday (11am) when they host Cambridgeshire at Bury’s Victory Ground.