Derbyshire win race for Pujara
Derbyshire have agreed terms with Cheteshwar Pujara that will see the Indian Test batsman further his education in English conditions by playing the last three Championship fixtures of the season. Pujara's signing remains subject to final approval from the BCCI and successful registration.
Pujara has already returned to India after the Test series while awaiting the prospect of a few late-season matches. Derbyshire's announcement will frustrate Leicestershire, the Second Division's bottom club, who had been fancied to win his signature.
Marcus North, the former Australia batsman, will remain with Derbyshire and play in the List A competition, while Pujara will play in the four remaining four-day first-class games that Derbyshire have this season. Shivnarine Chanderpaul, the club's overseas player in the first part of the season, has returned to the West Indies for the Test series against Bangladesh.
Pujara already has happy memories of the Derby ground. He made 81 against Derbyshire in July during a three-day tour match. He would have little clue of the problems which would follow as he hit 222 runs with a highest score of 55 in a five-Test series taken 3-1 by England.
Graeme Welch, Derbyshire's elite performance director, said: "We're an ambitious team and have an exciting group of players who are developing fast. Pujara joining us at this stage of the season is a real boost for the lads and the remaining Championship matches we have ahead of us will give him exactly the experience he is looking for.
"With Shiv now back in West Indies preparing for Test match action and Marcus North focusing on our one-day campaign, Pujara will bring an added dimension to the side as we look to finish our Championship season strongly."
Derbyshire, in their first season under Welch, have not lived up to ambitions so far, struggling to put together impressive form after their relegation last year.
Derbyshire's chief executive, Simon Storey said: "We've been focused on delivering a long-term legacy from the visit of the Indian tourist side to Derby in July, including the creation of our Cricket Derbyshire India Club. We hope the opportunity to see Pujara play county cricket for Derbyshire will inspire cricket followers across the City and the wider county and open up the Club to a new generation of fans."