Yorkshire County Cricket Club have handed Azeem Rafiq a one-year contract extension.
The off-spinning all-rounder re-signed for the Club until the end of the 2016 campaign back in June this year, after two years out of the professional game.
Rafiq, who was released by the White Rose in 2014, has adopted a very different approach to playing the game since being afforded a second chance by Director of Cricket Martyn Moxon.
“I’m really pleased! It’s been a bit of a whirlwind since June, but I’ve enjoyed every second,” he said.
“To be part of a successful team and to play a little part in that is great. In the longer term, of course a new contract is what I’ve been working hard for. Back in June it was about grasping a second opportunity and playing every day like it was my last. I just wanted to soak up as much as I could from what is a great environment. My aims were to enjoy it more than the last time and to contribute in any way I could to some success.”
Rafiq was speaking from the team hotel in London ahead of his first appearance as a player at Lord’s in a must-win Specsavers County Championship match against leaders Middlesex.
The 25-year-old added: “This is my first time as a player at Lord’s and to go there and win the County Championship would be very special indeed. Having practiced there yesterday, it’s an incredible place and winning there and lifting the trophy would be something to look back on at the end of my career.
“To win the Championship for a second time for myself and a third time for the Club; I think it would be one of the biggest wins in the Club’s history.
“I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous but we are in a very simple position; we have to win. It’s also an exciting position to be in. The opportunity to win and be crowned Champions for a third year in a row would be incredible.”