Mir Hamza has revealed how a Sussex great gave his big move to England the seal of approval.

Now he hopes to warm to his task in the far north and help the county get their Championship season up and running.

Hamza still cannot quite believe his Pakistani compatriot Shoaib Akhtar played for Durham.

“Shoaib hates the cold,” he said as he prepared for the first away trip of the Specsavers County Championship season.

Sussex are in Chester-le-Street to take on revamped Durham and Hamza will have a Hove legend keeping an eye on his numbers from afar.

Mushtaq Ahmed, the Pakistan wizard who span Sussex towards three Championship titles between 2003 and 2007, told Hamza he was making a great move when he signed his deal.

Hamza took three wickets on the first day of his Sussex career before it all rather fizzled out in the seven-wicket defeat at home to Leicestershire.

But the signs were there to suggest he can be another Pakistani hit at Hove.

Hamza told The Argus: “Mushtaq was a coach of mine one or two years ago in the national cricket academy.

“He is a very naturally friendly coach and he told me a lot about county cricket.

“When he knew I was contracted with Sussex, he motivated me a lot.

The Argus:

Mushtaq Ahmed

“He congratulated me on joining the Sussex team.

“He said, ‘You are going to love the team because they are a very friendly club, they have a lot of qualities’.

“He told me a lot about Sussex too.

“Obviously he told me about the slope at Hove but, you know, the slope is not actually a problem for fast bowlers.

“They enjoy it a lot because you don’t need a lot of effort bowling down the slope.

“You just come in easily and bowl fast.”

Hamza started out bowling up the slope, as his idol Imran Khan used to prefer, before switching to the Cromwell Road End.

He was brought up on tales of Imran’s exploits for county and country.

Hamza said: “Sussex is a special team for me because our heroes used to play here.

“It is a very exciting and proud moment that I am representing the same team.

“Yes, I’m young, but I follow Imran very much and I know everything about him.

“He is an inspiration for us and he has got a very good personality.

“He used to be a very good cricketer and I know about his performances for Sussex.”

Hamza would love to follow suit for the club. And for his country, perhaps? He said: “I played just the one Test match so my goal and my purpose is to become a permanent member of the Pakistan cricket team.

“Either I do it in Test cricket or one-day cricket.

“These county matches, both four-day and one-day, will really help do that.

“When you play here, you become a very professional cricketer.

“You gain a lot of experience from playing here, especially if you are a fast bowler.

“You learn how to swing the ball in tough conditions.

“The weather can be very cold and we are not used to very cold conditions back in Pakistan.

“When the weather is cloudy, you need to control the swing over here because the ball swings a lot.”

Hamza can test his control or the red ball in cold and cloudy weather over the next few days.

And he might get out and about to pursue his other passion.

He said: “I love photography very much. Wherever I go, I always have a camera in my bag.

“I will do a lot of photography in Hove and in Brighton.

“I always enjoy reading books as well. These two are my passions apart from cricket.”

Durham’s batting order no longer includes Paul Collingwood but they are under new management in Marcus North and James Franklin.