Zafar Gohar signs new two-year deal at Glos
November 24, 2022
Pakistani spinner Zafar Gohar has signed a new two-year deal at Gloucestershire Cricket, keeping him at the Seat Unique Stadium until at least the end of the 2024 season.
Zafar has committed his future to Gloucestershire having played for the Club in the previous two seasons on short-term agreements.
The 27-year-old was a star performer for The Shire last season, which ended with him picking up the Bowler of the Season and Players’ Player of the Season awards at the Club’s annual End of Season Gala Dinner in October.
Speaking about his excitement at extending his stay in Bristol, Zafar said: “I’m delighted to have committed my future to Gloucestershire for the next two years. I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Bristol last season and have made some great friends in the dressing room, so I’m really excited to be back.
“There’s a lot of talent in the group and I want to do my best to help the team next achieve success, starting with promotion back to Division One of the County Championship next season.”
After initially impressing with a string of match-winning performances during the latter stages of the 2021 season, Zafar re-signed for The Shire for the start of the 2022 campaign. He went on to bowl an extraordinary 527 overs in First-Class and List A cricket combined, and finished the year as Gloucestershire’s leading wicket taker with 60 wickets in all competitions.
In Division One of the LV= Insurance County Championship, Zafar claimed 47 wickets with a bowling economy of 2.97, the eighth-best figures of any bowler in the top division last season. Among a catalog of player-of-the-match performances was Zafar’s nine-wicket-haul in The Shire’s dramatic win v Yorkshire at Headingley, and his ten wickets in the match v Northants at Cheltenham.
The left-arm wizard also played a key role in Gloucestershire’s One-Day Cup campaign, taking 13 wickets in eight matches at an average of 4.69, the joint-most for Glos alongside Paul van Meekeren.
Traditionally a tailender, Zafar flourished with the bat as well as with the ball during the 2022 season. In eleven four-day matches, Zafar scored 493 runs at an average of 27.38 and provided a handful of crucial contributions at the crease. His prowess as an all-rounder also shone through in August’s 50-over matches, in which he averaged 40.80 and accumulated 204 runs from eight innings. It was in-fact in the opening One-Day Cup match v Warwickshire that Zafar scored his career-best List A score of 62 at Cheltenham, a tally that was later followed up by a terrific 53 v Sussex Sharks in Hove.
Zafar is currently playing for Central Punjab in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy in Pakistan and in his last outing, took five wickets and scored 41 runs v Balochistan. He will be available for selection in all three formats for Gloucestershire next season and will link up with the rest of the squad for pre-season training in the Spring.
Steve Snell, Performance Director at Gloucestershire Cricket, said: “I’m delighted Zafar has committed to the club and will be with us for at least the next two years. Zafar has become a supporter’s favorite because of the fantastic performances he put in for Gloucestershire during the 2021 and 2022 seasons.
“Zafar has not only made a significant impact on the pitch with the bat and ball, but has also been such a positive influence in and around the dressing room, and across the whole club with his determination, attitude and infectious smile. The boys absolutely love playing with him and this news is superb for the group.
“We’re really confident that Zafar signing a contract with the club not only strengthens our squad, but can assist Zafar’s career and keep helping him improve over the next couple of years. We’re all really excited to see what Zafar can continue to achieve for Gloucestershire, starting with next summer.”
Dale Benkenstein, Head Coach at Gloucestershire, added: “It’s great news to have secured Zafar’s services for the next two years, he grew as a player and as a member of the squad as the 2022 season progressed.
“We firmly believe we still haven’t seen the best of Zafar yet, which is really exciting, and we will continue to help Zafar reach his true potential as a match winner for Gloucestershire.”