London: Pakistan off-spinner Saqlain Mushtaq will return to play for Surrey from next season on a two-year deal, the English county announced.
The 30-year-old,who is now English qualified, originally joined Surrey in 1997 and helped the club, based at The Oval - England's oldest Test ground - in south London to three County Championship titles in four years.
But towards the end of the 2005 season, he succumbed to a knee injury which effectively ended his international career with Pakistan and was forced to take an extended break from the game.
After a stint with Ireland in 2006, he was offered the chance to play at Sussex, where his former Pakistan team-mate and leg-spinner Mushtaq Ahmed had been a key figure, in 2007.
In four Championship matches for this season's champions, Saqlain took 18 wickets at 17.55.
Saqlain, during a spell with Surrey from 1997 to 2005, took 384 wickets in a mere 80 matches at the impressively low average of 20.79, which included 30 five-wicket hauls.
Known for his 'doosra', the ball that turns the opposite way to a conventional off-break, Saqlain formed a potent partnership at The Oval with ex-England leg-spinner Ian Salisbury, recently released by Surrey.
But the club will now look to him forming a similar alliance with leg-break bowler Chris Schofield, who played for England at the recent World Twenty20 in South Africa.
"It is with great pleasure that we welcome back a Surrey legend. Saqlain, as Surrey fans know, is a proven international quality spinner," said Surrey cricket manager Alan Butcher.
"To be securing his services as a local player is a huge bonus and I can't wait to watch him weaving his magic in 2008."
In April, Saqlain was allowed to apply for his British passport and as such will be able to play for Surrey, as he did for Sussex, as a European Union qualified player, making him 'English' in terms of his registration.
Saqlain played 49 Test Matches and 169 One Day Internationals for Pakistan between 1995 and 2004. He took 208 Test wickets at 29.83 and 288 One Day wickets at 21.78.