Indian spinner Ravichandran Ashwin will play for Worcestershire for the rest of their County Championship campaign, it was confirmed Thursday.
The 30-year-old – who took 17 wickets on the recent tour of Sri Lanka as India completed their first three-Test series sweep on foreign soil on Monday – will replace Australian John Hastings as the county’s overseas player in a coup for the second-tier side.
The county will hope Ashwin, ranked number three in the bowler’s Test world rankings and second in the all-rounder lists, propels them to promotion in their final four matches.
Ashwin will be the first Indian player to play for Worcestershire since Zaheer Khan resurrected his international career after a superb season with them in 2006.
“Ravi is a fantastic international cricketer who is currently in terrific form with his game,” purred Worcestershire’s chief executive Steve Rhodes in a statement released by the club. “He is ranked in the top three as a bowler in Test cricket, is a wonderful all-rounder who can bat six and scores hundreds in Test cricket. It is unlucky for John Hastings with his injury but Ravi is a wonderful cricketer for us to have at a crucial point in our season. It is a really important last few games in the Championship and to have someone of his class is a huge boost for the club.”
Ashwin has taken 286 wickets in 51 Tests, including five wickets in an innings on 26 occasions, 150 ODI wickets and 52 in T20Is. Ashwin is also a force with the bat and has scored 2,004 Test runs at an average of 32.85 with four centuries and 11 fifties, and had been an opening batsman before turning to off-spin.
Worcestershire presently occupy the second and last spot for promotion to the first division, 15 points clear of third-placed Northamptonshire, whilst Sussex and Kent are a further two points adrift.