Ajinkya Rahane & Cheteshwar Pujara will continue to feature in Division Two of the County Championship after the West Indies tour in July. Rahane will represent Leicestershire while Pujara will continue to lead Sussex. Pujara has already played six matches for Sussex before playing in the WTC 2023 Final. In the Sussex fixtures, he managed to score three tons & fifty in eight innings.
Rahane made a stunning comeback to the Indian team during the WTC 2023 Final by scoring 89 & 46 runs respectively. Now, with Shreyas staying out of action in the West Indies series, there are chances he could again get selected for the West Indies tour. Before the WTC 2023 Final, India’s Head Coach Rahul Dravid had said that a plethora of good performances could help Rahane to stay in Test format for a longer period even when the injured players come back to the squad.
Rahane had signed the deal with Leicestershire club in Janaury & was supposed to feature in their eight first-class matches along with the entire 50-over Royal London Cup from June to September after the completion of his IPL 2023 stint with his new franchise CSK. But God had some other plans for him as he couldn’t join the National team immediately after the IPL 2023 due to his comeback to India’s Test Squad.
“Ajinkya, after the two Tests in the West Indies [scheduled to end on July 24], is supposed to fly directly to England and join Leicestershire for the remainder of the season,” a BCCI source told PTI. “He will play the Royal London Cup in August and a possible four county games in September as he is unlikely to be a part of the white-ball scheme of things.”
Ajinkya Rahane & Cheteshwar Pujara to feature for their respective Clubs
Notably, this will be Rahane’s second county stint as he played for Hampshire in 2019 when he was dropped from ODI World Cup 2023. While top Indian players will get more time to concentrate in ODIs ahead of the Asia Cup & World Cup, Rahane will get more time to play red-ball format throughout September, before he can return to play for India in their domestic season.
Pujara on the other hand has started his county season in April with a gleaming ton against Durham. He further accompanied his stint with tons against Gloucestershire and Worcestershire as well. He was also named Sussex Captain in the six fixtures he has played where he amassed 545 runs at an average of 68.12. He will further play in the Royal London Cup in 2022.
Currently, left-arm quick Arshdeep Singh is the only Indian in the squad who is playing for Kent Club in his maiden county season. So far Arshdeep has played just one game returning with figures of 2 for 43 & 2 for 90 which helped Surrey to chase the target of 501 runs.