Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) have granted India batsman Cheteshwar Pujara permission to play in England’s ongoing County Championship.
Leicestershire have already begun talking to Pujara about a contract for the final month of the season. But, it is likely that other counties will show an interest given that Pujara is one of the best batsmen India have to offer today.
Leicestershire chairman Paul Heywood confirmed that the club is speaking with Pujara. “We have been in contact with Pujara,” he told ESPNcricinfo.
Many Indian players, including Anil Kumble and Virender Sehwag, have played for Leicestershire in the past, and their move to sign Pujara could be seen as an attempt to increase their popularity amongst the growing local Asian community.
Leicestershire are currently at the bottom of the Division Two points table and are yet to win a single game this season. As of right now, they have lost seven matches and drawn five.
Pujara’s decision to play county cricket comes after his side were thrashed 3-1 by England in the recently concluded five-Test series. During that series, Pujara scored 222 runs, which included one half-century, at a disappointing average of 22.20.
Pujara is also the first Indian batsman to listen to the advice of the pundits and former players, who have been calling on all the Indian batsmen to play more county cricket since they looked out of touch and troubled by the conditions during the recent Test series.
“Pujara is not part of the ODI or T20 team now and is free to play. He sought my permission to play in county cricket and I have asked him to send me the details. I have decided to allow him to play,” BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel told PTI.
It has also been announced that Hampshire, Yorkshire, Worcestershire, Somerset and Nottinghamshire are not interested in signing Pujara.