Saturday, 20 Apr, 5.02 am Cricket

Seven Indian players to play County cricket before World Test Championship

After Ajinkya Rahane's county stint report, a BCCI official has revealed that as many as seven Indian players will feature in the ongoing County Championship. Cheteshwar Pujara, who played County last year, has a three-year contract with Yorkshire and is set to play there again this season.

Last year, Cheteshwar Pujara played for Yorkshire, and although he had a terrible outing there, the experience of such conditions helped him big-time in Tests for India. He plundered massive runs and was one of India's most prolific run-scorers in the follwoing season. Pujara played a major role in India's historic series win against Australia in their backyard in 2018-19.

Understanding the benefit of it, the board has decided to send the Test specialists for County cricket ahead of the World Test Championship in July-August. The players, who have been short-listed, are Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Prithvi Shaw, Hanuma Vihari, Mayank Agarwal, Ravichandran Ashwin and Ishant Sharma. While Vinod Rai has given his go-ahead for it, the BCCI is yet to get the approval to the other two members of the side.

"Pujara's contract was a deal between him and the county and it's a long term deal. CoA head Vinod Rai has already given his approval but Diana Edulji and Lt General Ravi Thodge are yet to give their approvals," a senior BCCI official said on Friday, reported the Times of India.

"With India set to play against the Caribbean in about a fortnight after the end of the World Cup, the BCCI has prepared a proposal wherein their Test specialists can play some red ball cricket in months of June till mid July," the senior official added.

While Rahane is close to finish off a deal with Hampshire, BCCI are in talks with counties like Leicestershire, Essex, Nottinghamshire.

"During the last Test series in England, the BCCI has had discussions with the CEOs of all major counties so that our top Test players can play there in summers," said the official.

"The conditions are completely different save that they will be playing with red Dukes which will also be used in the West Indies. It's just that they will get game time. We are hopeful that all our seven Test players will be playing either Division 1 or 2 of the English county," he added.

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