Yorkshire snap up Indian spin star Ravi Ashwin
Yorkshire County Cricket Club have announced the signing of Indian Test spinner Ravichandran Ashwin for the majority of the 2020 Specsavers County Championship season.
Ashwin, 33, who will play for Delhi Capitals in the Indian Premier League 2020, is set to take up the reins as the Club’s front-line 'overseas spinner’ following Keshav Maharaj’s successful stint in 2019.
The Club confirmed in December that Maharaj, who took 38 wickets in five matches last year, including two half centuries, will re-join the side for the opening two County Championship fixtures of the season - at home to Gloucestershire (April 12) and Essex at Chelmsford (April 19).
Ashwin is scheduled to feature in a minimum of eight County Championship fixtures for the White Rose next season, upon conclusion of his IPL commitments and following a short period of rest at the BCCI's request.
The Chennai-born, bowling all-rounder has taken 362 wickets in 70 Tests, 254 of those in 43 home Tests and recently claimed his 27th five-wicket haul in Test cricket.
Widely regarded as one of the best spinners India has ever produced, he is his country’s fourth highest wicket-taker and claimed the most international wickets across all three formats last decade (564).
The tall, wily, Tamil Nadu off-spinner, a World Cup winner in 2011, made his Test debut in Delhi against the West Indies in 2011, claiming two five-wicket hauls and a century, culminating in him winning Man of the Series.
He told yorkshireccc.com: “I'm thrilled to be joining Yorkshire, a club with a wonderful history and a fantastic fan base.
"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."
“We’re really pleased and he’s someone we’ve had our eye on for a while,” said coach Andrew Gale.
“With Kesh (Keshav Maharaj) doing so well last year, it shows the importance of having a spinner who can attack and defend. He can contribute with the bat as well.
"Ashwin ticks every box, he did well for Notts in a team that was underachieving with both bat and ball. To get a guy of his experience in and around the group will be great for us.
“His record says he performs well in England, he’s done well for Worcester and has done well for India in England as well. 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 competition 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.
“I think the way we’ve operated, in bringing new players in, is a sign of intent. We’ve had our hands tied for a number of years with budget and we’ve been in transition.
"These young players have been exposed to First-Class cricket and they are getting to a stage where they’ve got a bit of wool on their back.
"They’ve all had a taste of it and know what it’s about and we’ve filled in the voids with some real quality with (Dawid) Malan and (Ravichandran) Ashwin; (Nicholas) Pooran in T20 and, if they can put some real hard yards in during the winter and prepare really well; it doesn’t guarantee you success, but it gives you a really good chance of success.”