Pakistan’s opening batter Imam ul Haq has been snapped up by Somerset County Cricket Club for the final four LV= Insurance County Championship matches of the season.

The left-hander will replace Australian Matt Renshaw as an overseas player who is returning to Australia at the end of August to commence his domestic pre-season training with Queensland.

Imam’s stint with the team remains subject to obtaining the necessary NOC and visa and he will be with the team for the final four games of the season.

Pakistan and Somerset share a strong bond with Pakistani captains Babar Azam and Azhar Ali having become popular overseas signings at Taunton in recent years.

Andy Hurry, Somerset’s director of cricket, said the club had used their “long-standing relationship” with the PCB to get Imam’s deal over the line, subject to a No-Objection Certificate and visa.

“Imam-ul-Haq is an outstanding batter who will bring quality and a wealth of experience to our environment,” Hurry said. “To be able to bring in an established Test match player for the final LV= Insurance County Championship matches of the season is a coup for us with so much international cricket being played during this important period.

“We have a long-standing working relationship with the PCB and we are grateful to them for their assistance in helping us to sign a player of this caliber. We are genuinely excited about what he will add to the club both on and off the field.”

The 26-year-old has featured in 14 Tests for Pakistan and set a career-best of 157 against Australia earlier this year and has been in a rich run-scoring form since then.

Imam ul Haq is part of the squad that plays Sri Lanka later this month so his Somerset stint will have to wait a little longer.

He said that he had spoken to his international teammates about the club and that county cricket is “a challenge that I am relishing”.

Mohammad Amir, Naseem Shah, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Azhar Ali, Mohammad Rizwan, Shaan Masood, and Mohammad Abbas all have had county stints this season.

Somerset has struggled in the Championship this season and is ninth in the 10-team Division One, though have a game in hand on most of the bottom half of the table.

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