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Cheteshwar Pujara to play in 2018 English cricket county season for Yorkshire

Cheteshwar Pujara, who had played in the English county for Yorkshire in the past, is the third Indian after Sachin Tendulkar and Yuvraj Singh to have represented Yorkshire.

cricket Updated: Jan 30, 2018 15:11 IST
Ankit Kumar Singh
Ankit Kumar Singh
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
Cheteshwar Pujara,English county,Yorkshire cricket
Cheteshwar Pujara had played for Yorkshire in the past as well.(AP)

Indian Test batsman Cheteshwar Pujara will play for Yorkshire in the 2018 England domestic cricket season. The news of Pujara signing a deal with the English county was confirmed by the Yorkshire County Cricket Club on its website and Twitter handle on Tuesday.

Pujara will share overseas duty with New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson and is expected to reach the UK in time to play for Yorkshire in their fixture against Leeds Bradford MCCU beginning on April 7.

According to the club website, Pujara had signed the deal several weeks ago, but the announcement was purposely delayed taking into the account the Indian Premier League auction. The 29-year-old went unsold in the auction.

The Rajkot-born batsman will now take part in Yorkshire’s matches from April to first week of June when he would leave for home to take part in India’s one-off Test against Afghanistan in Bengaluru between June 14 and 18. He will, though, return in time for the team’s away trip to Hampshire, in the Specsavers County Championship, on June 20.

There is also likelihood of Pujara staying on after India’s Test series against England to play Yorkshire’s final home fixture against Hampshire (Sep 18) followed by their trip to New Road to face Worcestershire (Sep 24).

This would be Pujara’s second stint with Yorkshire and he appeared quite excited at the prospect of playing for the club once again.

“I’m really excited to be able to have the opportunity to represent Yorkshire once again. It’s always nice to be able to come over here and play some County Cricket and I’m just as excited as I was last time to represent the Club. I love the passion the people of Yorkshire have for the game and they made me feel very welcome. I know quite a few of the players, so I’ll just try to play my natural game and score plenty of runs for the Club,” he was quoted as saying by yorkshireccc.com.

Pujara had earlier joined Yorkshire as Younis Khan’s replacement in April 2015. He represented the club in four matches during that season scoring 264 runs at an average of 53.98 from four matches. Apart from Yorkshire, he has also played for Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire in the past.

Pujara is also the third Indian cricketer after Sachin Tendulkar (who was their first overseas signing during the 1992 England domestic season) and Yuvraj Singh to have played for Yorkshire.

“It’s an honour for me to play for the same county as Yuvraj Singh and Sachin Tendulkar and each time I’ve played county cricket it has improved me as a player. That’s the plan again in 2018. I just want to score as many runs as possible for Yorkshire and soak up as much as I can from the whole experience,” he said.

Yorkshire’s Director of Cricket Martyn Moxon couldn’t conceal his joy on having Pujara on board.

“It goes without saying that Cheteshwar is a highly-driven individual and very skilled batsman,” he said. “We’re delighted to have him on board.”

“He proved to be a very likable character the last time he was with us and the plan is for him to relieve some of the pressure on the top order that we struggled with at times in 2017.

“Just as he did in 2015, Pujara will relish the challenge of performing in English conditions. He’s very difficult to dislodge and will hopefully dominate the crease for us during his stay,” he said.

First Published: Jan 30, 2018 15:06 IST