SOMERSET are looking for an overseas player to replace Azhar Ali for the final three games of the season, after the batsman was recalled by Pakistan.

The Pakistan Cricket Board has announced that all centrally contracted players will be recalled, in order to play in a round of First Class matches a mandatory national training camp ahead of a Test series against Sri Lanka.

That means that Azhar would be unavailable for the final two Specsavers County Championship matches of the 2019 season – away to Hampshire (September 16) and at home to Essex (September 23).

In order for Somerset to complete the necessary registration process in time for those final two matches, any replacement overseas signing would need to be registered by September 6.

Somerset host Yorkshire at the Cooper Associates County Ground from September 10, i.e. after the deadline for registering a replacement overseas player.

Director of cricket Andy Hurry said: "In order for us to have an overseas player available to replace Azhar Ali for those final two matches against Hampshire and Essex, we would need to register them before our home fixture against Yorkshire

“After discussing this with Azhar he felt that the team’s needs should come before his, and he has therefore agreed to return to Pakistan early in order for us to have an overseas player for the final three games.

“This means that Azhar has played his last match for us this season.

"I know that I speak for everyone associated with the club when I say that he has been outstanding.

"His contributions on the field have proved to be vital, mainly with the bat but no one should forget his five wickets in the Royal London One-Day Cup quarter-final at Worcestershire.

"His work behind the scenes, particularly with the younger players, has also made a huge impression on us all.

“To put it simply, if Azhar hadn’t agreed to this, we wouldn’t have had an overseas player for our final two matches.

"I think that speaks volumes about him as a man and as a professional.

"He has been a real credit to himself and the PCB during his time with us and there is no doubt in my mind that he has added real value to the club."

Azhar Ali commented: “Obviously I’m sad to be leaving but it is an honour to play for Pakistan.

“My time at Somerset has been wonderful and I have really enjoyed it. It’s been fantastic.

"I have many happy memories of my time here but winning a Lord’s final really stands out as being special.

“When I came here, I really wanted to win the Championship with Somerset and I really hope that the team can achieve that this year.

"We have played some very good cricket and I wish all the players the very best for the last games of the season.”