London - Indian spinner Ravichandran Ashwin will play for
Worcestershire for the rest of their County Championship campaign, it was
revealed on Tuesday.
The 30-year-old - who took 17 wickets on the recent tour of
Sri Lanka as India completed their first three-Test series sweep on foreign
soil on Monday - will replace Australian John Hastings as the county's overseas
player in a coup for the second-tier side.
The county will hope Ashwin, ranked number three in the
bowler's Test world rankings and second in the all-rounder lists, propels them
to promotion in their final four matches.
Ashwin will be the first Indian player to play for
Worcestershire since Zaheer Khan resurrected his international career after a
superb season with them in 2006.
"Ravi is a fantastic international cricketer who is
currently in terrific form with his game," purred Worcestershire's chief
executive Steve Rhodes in a statement released by the club.
"He is ranked in the top three as a bowler in Test
cricket, is a wonderful all-rounder who can bat six and scores hundreds in Test
"It is unlucky for John Hastings with his injury but
Ravi is a wonderful cricketer for us to have at a crucial point in our season.
"It is a really important last few games in the
Championship and to have someone of his class is a huge boost for the
Ashwin has taken 286 wickets in 51 Tests, including five
wickets in an innings on 26 occasions, 150 ODI wickets and 52 in T20Is.
Ashwin is also a force with the bat and has scored 2 004
Test runs at an average of 32.85 with four centuries and 11 fifties, and had
been an opening batsman before turning to off-spin.
Worcestershire presently occupy the second and last spot for
promotion to the first division, 15 points clear of third-placed
Northamptonshire, whilst Sussex and Kent are a further two points adrift.