Plymouth secure Riaz for 2018 after record-breaking first season

Faizan Riaz hits out for Plymouth against the Lashings World XI last season
Faizan Riaz hits out for Plymouth against the Lashings World XI last season

PLYMOUTH are bringing back Pakistani all-rounder Faizan Riaz for the 2018 after a successful first summer at Mount Wise.

Riaz bowling for Plymouth against Torquay last season Photo: www.ppauk.com/1042661Riaz, currently playing for Islamabad in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy, was a record breaker with the bat for Plymouth last season.

His tally of 922 runs – average 65.85 – was an individual record for the Premier Division in an 18-game season.

Only Liam Lewis with 904 (2013) and Neil Hancock with 900 (2006) had previously reached 900 before, although Bradninch’s Matt Foster (906) joined the club last summer.

Riaz and James Walsh collectively broke a 20-year old Premier Division batting record in the 168-run win over Exeter.

Riaz and Walsh put on 230 for the second wicket, breaking a record set in 1997 by North Devon batsman Chris Rogers and Martin Gear of 229.

That’s the same Chris Rogers who went on to play for Australia and finished his career as captain of Somerset.

Spinner Riaz was also Plymouth’s leading wicket taker with 24 at 24.66 each.

Plymouth have also confirmed the signing of keeper-batsman Dan Robotham, who finished last season with Plymstock. He has previously turned out for Plympton.

Veteran Steve Luffman kept wicket in the 1st XI last season after Walsh left due to work commitments before the end of May.

As Luffman is skippering the 2nd XI in 2018, a new keeper was a priority for Plymouth.

GUESS who Fiazan Riaz ran into playing for Islamabad last time out? Former Cornwood paceman Aizaz Cheema.

Cheema, now aged 38, is still turning out for Lahore Blues and showed he still has the pace to get good batsman out.

He had a 10-wicket haul in the game against Islamabad. His second-innings bag of six for 37 included Riaz.

Cheema had four successful seasons with the Corns – 2008-2011 – during which he claimed 154 wickets.

Pakistan came calling for Cheema in 2011 and he had a two-year stay in the squad, taking 52 wickets across all three formats.

Cheema played in the Home Counties League for Banbury last season.