ESSWEX have signed fast bowler Sajid Mahmood on a two-year contract.

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Mahmood, 30, joins the club after being released from Lancashire.

He made his debut for Lancashire in 2002, taking 323 wickets in his first-class career. Those included 10-wicket match hauls on two occasions (10-140 v Worcestershire in 2009 and 10-186 v Nottinghamshire in 2011) while he has also taken five wickets or more in an innings nine times.

He has proved a useful lower order batsman, scoring more than 2,000 first class runs with nine half-centuries including a highest score of 90.

Sajid, who was born in Bolton, won eight Test caps for England between 2006 and 2007, making a stunning debut against Sri Lanka at Lord’s when he took three wickets in nine deliveries.

He has also played in 26 one-day internationals, spanning 2004 and 2009, including the 2007 World Cup and four Twenty20 Internationals.

He uses his 6’ 4” height to bowl a full-length and at decidedly rapid pace is now looking forward to the move south to start a new chapter in his career. Mahmood was a member of Lancashire’s successful title-winning Championship squad in 2011, taking 35 wickets.

Mahmood said: “I am delighted to be joining Essex. Playing at Lancashire was a great experience for me and I thank them for all they did for my cricket. I see this move as a new beginning and can’t wait to get started. Paul Grayson has been brilliant throughout the recruitment process and I appreciate the faith he’s shown in me.”

Essex head coach Grayson said: “I’m really pleased Saj has joined the club. I like cricketers who feel that they have point to prove to people and he has lots of ability, he’s experienced and he’s a fit guy who can bowl with good pace as well so we feel Saj will be a real addition to the squad.”

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