Team India’s premier off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin is all set to begin a new phase of his cricketing career. He will make his debut in County cricket when he plays for Worcestershire against Gloucestershire this Monday. The spinner received his ‘No objection certificate from BCCI and carried his visa on Friday evening.
Ashwin becomes the second Indian after Cheteshwar Pujara to join County cricket this year. Pujara is already there to play for Nottinghamshire. Ashwin will replace the injured John Hastings as Worcestershire’s overseas player for the remaining 4 games of the Championship. He is the 3rd international spinner signed by the County side after Australia’s Nathan Lyon and New Zealand’s Mitchell Santner.
Director of cricket Steve Rhodes is ecstatic with Ashwin joining the English County and rates the off-spinner very highly. He hopes that people do not put too much pressure on him.
While speaking to the media, he said, “He is such a terrific international bowler. We are very lucky to get him and I only hope people don’t put too much pressure on the guy. He is only human. But he is a wonderful all-rounder, someone who gets hundreds in Test cricket batting at number six, and we are very pleased he has chosen to come to Worcestershire. We are delighted to have someone of his skills and stature in the game playing for us in this crucial last four games.”
“The plan is for him to get a day or two for practice and get to know the lads and get over a bit of jet lag and then be up and running for Monday. You could easily not sign someone for this period and go with what we’ve got. But we are second in the table and desperately want to be in that top two,” he added.
A great learning curve for Ashwin
Ravichandran Ashwin has been a magnificent contributor for Indian cricket in the past couple of years and one of the reasons for India’s number one ranking in Test cricket. He has been picking up wickets at a rate better than anyone else in the game. But there has always been a criticism of him that he isn’t as effective in overseas conditions.
This is a great chance for the 30-year-old to spend some time in England and get a feel for those conditions. India will travel to the countries like South Africa, England, Australia in the coming years and the experience of County cricket under his belt will do wonders to his confidence.