Derbyshire have appointed Ajmal Shahzad as Assistant Coach (Bowling Lead).
The former England fast bowler, who claimed 249 first-class wickets during his career, replaces Steve Kirby and will begin his new role immediately, working alongside Head of Cricket, Dave Houghton, and Assistant Coach (Batting Lead) Mal Loye.
A highly regarded up-and-coming coach, Shahzad transitioned to Head Coach of Senior Cricket at Ampleforth College in York after retiring as a player in 2017 and was subsequently appointed Head Coach of the MCC’s Young Cricketers Programme in 2019, where he continued to expand his skills and experience.
The 35-year-old now begins working with Derbyshire’s promising bowling attack, after Sam Conners, Michael Cohen and Ben Aitchison all enjoyed strong showings in the 2020 Bob Willis Trophy.
Houghton said: “With the season drawing ever closer, we were keen to bring in a coach to work with our bowlers as early as possible. Ajmal was the outstanding applicant in the strong pool of candidates and to have been able to recruit someone of his quality is really pleasing.
“He is continuing to learn as a coach and we are always looking to develop everyone within our team, not just the players, because that’s how you achieve that next level.
“He adds more top-level experience to our coaching staff and as someone who’s so recently been involved in the first-class game as a bowler, that can only benefit our exciting attack as they develop in their careers.”
Shahzad added: “I’m really excited to get started with Derbyshire and I can’t wait to work with the lads and see the benefits of our work on the field.
“Steve [Kirby] has done a tremendous job with the attack, and I can see how much potential there is among our bowlers. I’m looking forward to putting my own mark on their development and using my experiences to help them progress and maximise the talent that is clearly there.
“To be able to learn from the experience that Dave [Houghton] and Mal [Loye] have will be really good for me, and I’m thankful for this opportunity, because the whole project at Derbyshire, and the ambitions they have, is something I wanted to be a part of.”