Owais Shah will play for the Wellington Firebirds in the domestic Twenty20 competition in 2009/10.
30-year old Shah plays for Middlesex in the English county competition and the Delhi Daredevils in the Indian Premier League. An experienced top order batsman and current England One Day International and Twenty20 International player, Shah has played over 200 first-class games since 1996 and has represented England in all three forms of the game.
He has toured New Zealand with England twice, in 2002 and 2008, and was part of England’s Twenty20 International team that hosted the ICC Twenty20 World Cup in June.
He is currently involved in England’s 15-man squad in the ODI and T20 International series against Australia and for the ICC Champions Trophy in South Africa in September and October.
Cricket Wellington CEO Gavin Larsen is hugely excited about Shah coming to Wellington, where he will team up with a number of Wellington’s Blackcaps.
“I am very pleased with this signing, and I’m sure Owais will win a number of T20 matches for us with the bat. His vast cricketing experience and tactical appreciation of T20 cricket will also see him provide vital leadership alongside our experienced Firebirds.
"Already there is a buzz around town about domestic T20 next summer. With our Blackcaps including Ryder, Patel, Franklin, O'Brien, and Elliott all available, complemented with this excellent signing of Owais Shah, it augers well for plenty of exciting T20 action on the Basin Reserve.”
Wellington Firebirds Head Coach Anthony Stuart said Shah is the perfect player to complement the existing players:
“I'm thrilled that Wellington has secured a player of Owais Shah's quality. He is exactly the type of player who will complement the skill-set of our current Firebirds players. We were looking for an exciting top-order player, one that has the ability to both anchor the Firebirds innings as well as regularly hit the ball to and over the boundary rope. Owais will perform this role extremely well.
“A key goal for the Firebirds the summer is to win the domestic T20 competition. There is now the added carrot of a spot in the lucrative Champions League tournament in India, and I'm sure there will be a tinge of jealousy in our players as they see the Otago Volts head off shortly as New Zealand's representative."
Former Blackcaps and Firebirds captain Stephen Fleming, who assisted Larsen in the search for an Overseas Player, added: “I rate Owais very highly. In my mind he is one of the better international T20 batsmen in the world, and is a player who has an excellent grasp of the batting strategy required for T20 cricket. He certainly has the ability to make a huge impact on the Firebirds T20 season.”