Worcestershire: Shannon Gabriel to replace Saeed Ajmal

Shannon Gabriel
West Indies bowler Shannon Gabriel featured in their Test series with England earlier this year

Worcestershire have signed West Indies pace bowler Shannon Gabriel for their final two County Championship matches of the season as they battle against relegation from Division One.

Gabriel, 27, will stand in as their overseas player as spinner Saeed Ajmal is to return home to Pakistan after next week's home game with Sussex.

"We've some important games coming up," said director of cricket Steve Rhodes.

"To fill the void left by Saeed Ajmal is the right thing to do."

Gabriel, who will complete his move subject to the granting of a No Objection Certificate from the West Indies Cricket Board, is scheduled to play at Durham (14-17 September) and at home to second-placed Middlesex (22-25 September).

Eighth-placed Worcestershire trail Sussex in seventh by four points going into next week's potentially crucial meeting between the two sides at New Road.

Shannon Gabriel
Test debut v England at Lord's in 2012
32 wickets in 14 Tests at an average of 35.81
157 wickets in 61 first class matches at 30.41

Trinidad-born Gabriel follows Vanburn Holder, Kenny Benjamin, Chris Gayle, Kemar Roach and Andre Russell as West Indies players to represent Worcestershire.

He has recently been playing for St Lucia Zouks in the Caribbean Premier League.

"He's a big, strong boy who can bowl very quickly," Rhodes told BBC Hereford & Worcester. "He was clocked in his last Test at 93mph. Not many people can do that.

"It's tough for him coming in for just two games but, if you're a fast bowler and you know what you've got to do, there's a chance of it coming off. When it was put to him by his agent, he was very keen to do it."

New action not paying off for Ajmal
Saeed Ajmal has taken 16 wickets at 48.50 in seven County Championship matches for Worcestershire in 2015 with his remodelled action, in contrast to the 63 he took in nine matches to help win them promotion last summer.