Shropshire County Cricket Club is hoping professional Bilal Shafayat will shine with the bat against Suffolk this weekend ahead of his return to the first class game with Hampshire.
Shropshire pulled off a coup by signing former England under-19 captain Shafayat during the winter and had high hopes he would spearhead their push for honours in this year's Minor Counties campaign.
Shafayat, 27, made it known his ambition was doing well enough for Shropshire to seal a return to the first class arena and his dreams have swiftly come true with Hampshire swooping to sign the top order batsman.
Shafayat is available to play for Shropshire in Sunday's vital MCCA Knockout clash against Suffolk at Shifnal Cricket Club, but it could be his final game for the club before moving to the Rose Bowl.
Shropshire captain Ed Foster said: “It's a shame that we won't have the services of Bilal for the rest of the season, although at this stage we're not certain whether or not this will be his last game for Shropshire. It could well be that way.
“We were of course aware there may be an issue when we signed him, but we wish him well with Hampshire.”
Foster now hopes Shafayat, the former Nottinghamshire and Northamptonshire star, can show his top class pedigree by helping Shropshire pick up a much-needed victory against Suffolk to boost their chances of qualification from their group.
Both of Shropshire's group games this season against Norfolk and Wiltshire have been virtually washed out.
“The poor weather has meant the whole group is in a bizarre situation where no team has completed a game yet,” said Foster, also the skipper of Birmingham League club Shrewsbury.
“It means that our situation becomes relatively straight forward. We really need to win this weekend to ensure that we progress. A defeat would take it out of our hands and would mean Suffolk going through.
“We know that we will need to play well and I have no doubts the boys will be ready to go come Sunday.
“Hopefully the weather will stay good and we will have a decent crowd at Shifnal to support us.”
Shropshire memorably won the MCCA KO in 2010 when they beat Lincolnshire in the final at Durham's Riverside ground.
The first ball at Shifnal on Sunday will be at 11am and admission is free.
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