India off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin will not play for Yorkshire this season after the English county announced on Monday they were cancelling their overseas player contracts for the 2020 campaign by mutual consent following the coronavirus outbreak.
Off-spinner Ashwin and South Africa slow left-armer Keshav Maharaj were meant to share duties in the first-class County Championship, with West Indies’ batsman Nicholas Pooran heading to Headingley for the Twenty20 Blast.
But with the start of the English season delayed until July 1 at the very least, and several rounds of Championship matches abandoned, Yorkshire have decided it no longer makes cricket or economic sense to employ overseas players this year.
Yorkshire are also one of a number of counties trying to keep costs down by putting players on furlough as part of the British government’s coronavirus job retention scheme.
“We have been in regular contact with the players and their agents throughout this COVID pandemic,” said Yorkshire director of cricket Martyn Moxon.
“They have been extremely professional and appreciate the uncertainty facing counties at present.”
Maharaj impressed for Yorkshire last year, taking 38 Championship wickets in five matches.
Yorkshire’s announcement follows similar statements confirming Australia’s Peter Siddle (Essex), Nathan Lyon (Hampshire), and Glenn Maxwell and James Faulkner (both Lancashire) will be among overseas players who will not be playing county cricket this season.
Earlier, Cheteshwar Pujara’s deal with Gloucestershire for the first six matches of the County Championship has been cancelled as well.
The 32-year-old, who has scored 5840 runs at an average of 48.66 in 77 Tests, was supposed to play six County Championship matches for the club at the start of the county’s first season back in Division One.
However, Gloucestershire on Thursday said that the deal is off now given the global health crisis, which has forced the England and Wales Cricket Board to suspend all professional cricket.
(With AFP inputs)