Saffron Walden Cricket Club have swooped for a South African international as preparations for the new season reached a conclusion.

Zubayr Hamza has played in five tests for the Proteas, the last of which was in January 2020 against England in Port Elizabeth, scoring 10 and two in each innings before being dismissed by Dom Bess and Mark Wood respectively.

The 25-year-old was also captain of the Cape Cobras professional side and Walden's own skipper, Ben Harris, is delighted to see him join the club.

He said: "It’s really exciting to have an overseas player of his quality join the group in a few weeks time. I’m sure we are all going to learn plenty from him and hopefully he’ll also score plenty of runs for us.”

Walden will have started their season by that time, their first game in the East Anglia Premier League on Saturday when Mildenhall arrive at the Anglo American Playing Fields.

Chairman David Barrs said: "We can’t wait to have cricket back in the town and I’m thrilled to once again be able to welcome back all to come and enjoy it, down at the biggest beer garden around.”

The match starts at 11amt and the bar will be open.

Walden managed to fit in three pre-season games, Sawston, Cambridge and Sudbury, and they resulted in a mixed bag of results, one win, one loss and one game drawn due to rain.

For the skipper though it was all about getting back out into the middle.

He said: "I speak for all the lads when I say we’re so happy to finally be back out playing cricket again.

"We weren’t allowed to practise together until March 29, when it snowed, so these friendlies have been more important to us than usual, they’ve been vital to get the squad together.

"We’ve got a young side who will have plenty of opportunity this year and I am looking forward to see how they progress.

"It’s great to see Cameron Taylor back and Ali Russell has joined us for the full campaign. He’s a really good addition.”

The EAPL sees the strongest teams across Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambs and northern Essex compete against each other, home and away, with the conclusion in mid-September.