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Azharullah aiming to seal stunning debut season with t20 title

Azharullah: Family life before international ambitions

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Northamptonshire's new star Azharullah is hoping to seal a remarkable debut season in county cricket by winning the Friends Life t20 title.

The Pakistan-born seamer has been a revelation this season after putting family life in England ahead of his international ambitions.

Azharullah was in the radar of the Pakistan selectors, having helped his domestic team to the four-day and limited overs titles, and toured Bangladesh with the national academy side.

But whilst playing in the Bradford Cricket League he fell in love with Emma, the scorer at Pudsey Congs, and the two married in 2009.

Rather than pursue his dream of playing for Pakistan, he moved to England and signed for Northants in the winter.

The departure of Trent Copeland - another huge success for Northants this season - gave him his chance, and he has not looked back.

He has taken a tournament best 24 wickets at an average of 11.37 to help the Steelbacks to only their second-ever finals day at Edgbaston.

Surprise

"It was a long three years but it has all paid off," he said. "Emma was the main reason (for moving to England). I married her in 2009 and then I went back to play for two months in Pakistan.

"I played eight first-class games and took 35 wickets. There were four months left and I thought 'I can't keeping going back, I have to give time to my wife'.

"So I had to start this process of qualifying for county cricket. In January 2010 I decided I would take the time off first-class cricket and get myself ready for county cricket.

"I sacrificed my years of cricket and I have come in here and done well and I am really happy with that."

"I knew I would do well," he said. "I knew I would be a surprise package because people hadn't seen me before. I didn't know I would be in the finals day but I always had the belief that I could do well.

"You can say (I gave up) international cricket because I was doing so well over the years in Pakistan and I was well in the international set-up.

"I was in the Pakistan academy and went on tour in 2008 to Bangladesh and we played South Africa.

"I was in the fast bowling academy with Wasim Akram, but in 2009 because I did not play the full season I was not up for selection. I took a decision and moved on. The main thing I sacrificed was time with my family."

"We have one lovely daughter called Aisha who will be two on finals day. I want to win a medal for her," he added. "You always need motivation in life. She will be there."

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