India offspinner R Ashwin will play ‘a minimum of eight county matches’ for Yorkshire, the English county announced on Thursday (January 16).
Ashwin will be a ‘mentor and coach’ during the 50-over competition before playing the county championship matches as their frontline spinner. He will join the side after a seven-day break, as requested by the BCCI, after his IPL stint with BCCI.
Ashwin, who has 362 wickets in 70 Tests, will take the place of Keshav Maharaj, who had a successful stint with Yorkshire last year and be available for the first two matches this season. He is set to become the third Indian after Sachin Tendulkar and Cheteshwar Pujara to play for Yorkshire.
“I’m thrilled to be joining Yorkshire, a club with a wonderful history and a fantastic fan base," Ashwin said. “I think our team looks extremely talented with some superb pace bowlers and exciting batsmen. Hopefully my role as the spinner will be a key feature in helping the team achieve success.
“Headingley has always been a fantastic venue to play at. People speak about the overhead conditions playing a big part so let’s hope for plenty of sun.
“I love playing First-Class cricket and have enjoyed my two previous spells with Worcestershire and Nottinghamshire.
“My role will be to score runs and take wickets but it will be a collective effort if we are to win the title.
“I feel I have been consistent over a long period of time which has helped my success for India. I’m a deep thinker about the game and bowling in particular and will be researching my opponents carefully to ensure I have the edge.
“I know a lot about Yorkshire and to follow in the footsteps of Sachin, who played for the county many years ago is a wonderful feeling for me."
Ashwin played for Nottinghamshire last season picking up 34 wickets at 24.58 and scoring 339 runs at 37.66. He had played for Worcestershire in 2017 and couldn’t join them the following year due to an injury.
“His record says he performs well in England, he’s done well for Worcester and has done well for India in England as well," said Yorkshire coach Andrew Gale. “He’s got masses of experience and has done well wherever he’s gone across the world and, like I say, he can attack and defend so will give us nice control in the first innings and then second innings he will come into his own.
“You’ve always got an eye on what you need to bring in to the team to be successful and that spin option was something we wanted to look at. You always keep your ear to the ground, keep in touch the the agents and see who is available, where they could slot in and how long they can come for. Ashwin is available for the rest of the season after the IPL. Short-term signings haven’t worked, we want someone who can come in for a longer period of time who can make an influence.
“When Ashwin became available we put a lot of work into showing him what we’re all about at Headingley, what direction we’re going in as a group and he was happy to get involved.
“He has to have seven days off when he finishes in the IPL, whether that be the final or before, but after that he’s available for the rest of the season for Championship cricket. He can’t play any T20, but my understanding is that he’s going to be around during the 50-over comp both as a mentor and a coach and so he’s going to help the young spinners but he’ll play the rest of the season in Championship cricket."