Ajinkya Rahane will be the first Indian to play for Hampshire, the county confirmed on Thursday (April 25). Rahane will replace South Africa batsman Aiden Markram and play eight county championship matches from May to July.
"I am excited to be the first Indian to play for Hampshire, a county which has a glowing reputation. I hope to score runs and win as a team and would like to thank BCCI for allowing me to play," Rahane was quoted as saying in the county website.
Giles White, the director of cricket at Hampshire, said they're excited to have Rahane in the side.
"We’re delighted to attract a player of Ajinkya’s class and with both Aiden and Dimuth (Karunaratne) selected for the World Cup, we were obviously in the market for a top-order batsman. Ajinkya showed an interest early on and the way things have played out it’s a great opportunity to get him over - we’re really excited to have him with us," he said.
"He’s enjoyed playing at the Ageas Bowl previously and it’s going to be great to have a player of his stature joining the dressing room."
Rahane has played 56 Tests, scoring 3488 runs at an average of 40.55. Rahane hasn't scored a Test century since August 2017, when he scored 132 against Sri Lanka in Colombo. He had been India's most dependable overseas player in the past, but had average outings last year scoring only two half-centuries in 10 innings in England, and two in eight innings in Australia.
Cheteshwar Pujara, Prithvi Shaw, Hanuma Vihari, Mayank Agarwal, Ravichandran Ashwin and Ishant Sharma are the other Indians who are expected to feature in the county season this year.