London: After finding no bidders in the IPL auctions last month, Indian pacer Ishant Sharma would play county cricket for English side Sussex in five first-class and eight list-A matches.
However, the lanky paceman is still waiting a confirmation from the BCCI, according to Sussex’s official website.
He would be with her team from April 4 to June 4 which makes him available for Sussex’s first five matches in the County Championship and eight Royal London One-Day Cup group matches.
“I would like to extend a special thanks to Sussex for taking note of my ongoing performances and deeming me suitable for this opportunity. I hope to add value during my time as part of the Sussex family this season,” Ishant said, as quoted by Sussex’s official website.
Sussex’s Director of Cricket Keith Greenfield explained the logic behind the signing and said, “Securing Ishant’s services has been very important for us. Once Jofra (Archer) and CJ (Chris Jordan) were picked up in the IPL draft (auction), it became crucial to sign an experienced international-quality seam bowler who could provide valuable support and know-how to the rest of the seamers.
“Ishant has the attributes to be very successful in early season English conditions and a great role model. He fits the bill perfectly and we look forward to welcoming him to Sussex Cricket.”
Sussex head coach Jason Gillespie too welcomed the Indian pacer saying that Ishant’s experience would be important for the dressing room.
“We’re delighted to secure the services of an experienced and very skilful international seamer. We believe Ishant will fit right into the Sussex dressing room and we are all really looking forward to welcoming him to Hove,” said Gillespie.
Having made his international debut in 2007, Ishant has gone on to play 81 Tests, 80 ODIs and 14 T20Is so far for India.
With 234 Test dismissals, the Delhi bowler is overall, the ninth best among all Indian Test bowlers. He has taken 115 wickets in ODIs and eight wickets in T20Is.
He recently represented the country in the last two Test matches of the three-match series against South Africa and ended up with eight wickets.
This would be Ishant’s first stint in county cricket, although he has been a part of India’s tour of England in 2011 and 2014 and also the 2009 World T20 and 2013 Champions Trophy.
Speaking on his signing, the 29-year-old said, “It’s a great honour to represent Sussex CCC, the oldest first-class county, and I am looking forward with excitement to my maiden stint in county cricket.”
He also has tasted a decent amount of success in English conditions, his 7/74 against England in Lords in 2014, being his best figures in the longest format of the game.
He also had emerged as the fourth highest wicket-taker in India’s victorious campaign in the 2013 Champions Trophy with 10 scalps, behind James Anderson (11 wickets), Mitchell McClenaghan (11 wickets) and teammate Ravindra Jadeja (12 wickets).