The English county of Leicestershire has agreed a deal with former India captain Ajinkya Rahane for the 2023 season, according to a report in English media on Tuesday.
As well as playing for Leicestershire Cricket Club in the County Championship, Rahane is also likely to play in white-ball cricket for the Royal London Cup, subject to his commitments in the Indian Premier League (IPL), Telegraph newspaper claimed in an exclusive report.
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Leicestershire were winless in the County Championship this year, finishing bottom in Division Two, 37 points behind eighth-seeded Sussex, the Telegraph said in the report.
Rahane has not been named to the Indian team since India’s test tour of South Africa in 2020-21 due to indifferent form. Although he has done well in the Ranji Trophy season, Rahane has not been selected for the Indian team.
However, 34-year-old Rahane hopes the County stint with Leicestershire CCC will reinvigorate his testing career, as it did with Cheteshwar Pujara, his former middle-class partner of the Indian testing team.
It is also an ambitious deal for Leicestershire as they struggle in the County Championship.
“The signing of Rahane, who previously played briefly for Hampshire, has a dual purpose for Leicestershire. He must make a solid contribution to runs and provide strong leadership to an experienced squad, but he will also strengthen links with the large Indian population in the area,” the report said.
Several Indian players have appeared for County sides this past season and it looks like the trend will continue into the 2023 season as well, as on Monday Sussex, another struggling County, announced that Pujara will return for another spell at Hove after an outstanding achievement in 2022 .
In addition to Pujara, Indian players Mohammed Siraj, Krunal Pandya and Jayant Yadav (Warwickshire), Shubman Gill (Glamorgan), Washington Sundar (Lancashire), Umesh Yadav (Middlesex) and Navdeep Saini (Kent) played last at the various levels of County cricket . season.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India is open to allowing its players to participate in four-day competitions outside India, but not T20, in order to maintain the primacy of the IPL, the world’s largest short-form competition , the Telegraph said in its report.
The County stints have helped the Indian players who are not involved in IPL and are thus kept busy.
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