Senior India off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin will be tuning up for the inaugural World Test Championship against West Indies by playing in English County for Nottinghamshire.
“Yes, Ashwin will be playing for the Notts this season. The CoA had already made it clear that any centrally contracted cricketer will have automatic rights to play County cricket if that player gets an offer. Ashwin’s deal is almost final and only the CEO needs to sign his NoC,” a senior Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) functionary privy to the development told PTI on conditions of anonymity.
After Test vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane inked a deal with Hampshire, it is the turn of Ashwin to play six division 1 County games for the Nottinghamshire side that also has England’s premier fast bowler Stuart Broad in their ranks.
This will be Ashwin’s second stint in English County, having played four games for Worcestershire during the 2017 season.
It was a fruitful season back then for the 32-year-old, who got 20 scalps in four games and also scored 214 runs.
The BCCI has been in touch with the various county sides as they want their top long-form specialists to play county cricket every season during June and July.
As of now, Rahane, Ashwin and Cheteshwar Pujara (with Yorkshire on three-year contract) are certain to play the county games.
Umesh Yadav and Ishant Sharma may also feature in a few games if things fall in place.
As far as the youngsters are concerned, Prithvi Shaw, Hanuma Vihari and Mayank Agarwal will be with the India A side in the West Indies as a part of the shadow tour before the senior squad embarks on its journey.
World Test Championship will begin soon after the ICC World Cup with the Ashes in England starting the event, while the Windies tour India, and New Zealand hosts Sri Lanka – both in July.