County news April 1, 2015

Yorkshire sign Pujara after Younis pulls out

ESPNcricinfo staff

Cheteshwar Pujara will join Yorkshire for the first part of the season © Getty Images

Younis Khan, the Pakistan batsman, has pulled out of his deal to play for Yorkshire this season but the club have moved swiftly to sign Indian Test batsman Cheteshwar Pujara.

Younis had initially ruled himself out of Pakistan's tour to Bangladesh in April and May, and agreed to a deal with Yorkshire until late May. But he had a change of heart and has now declared himself available for that tour. Yorkshire were unwilling to wait to see whether Younis was selected in the Pakistan squad and cancelled his contract.

A replacement has been found immediately and Pujara, 27, should arrive to play for the same period as was agreed with Younis. The BCCI have agreed to Pujara's deal but a work permit needs to be finalised. Yorkshire are hopeful Pujara, who briefly played for Derbyshire last season, will be available for the county's opening match on April 12 against Worcestershire.

"It is very disappointing, at this late stage, to pull out of the agreement with Younis," Martin Moxon, Yorkshire director of cricket, said. "When the deal was agreed initially, it was on the understanding that Younis would not tour Bangladesh with Pakistan. Younis made it clear to us on Sunday that he would find it difficult to turn down should he be selected.

"At this late stage that is no good to us. We had to make a decision and as result we have decided to cancel his contract.

"But Pujara is a superb player who is hungry to perform in the English game. He is a classy right-hander who likes to dominate the crease and he will be a big asset for us during the early part of the new campaign."

Pujara, who has six Test centuries and averages 47.11 in 27 matches, added: "I'm very excited and honoured to be signing for Yorkshire. The club's history is fantastic and being the current Champions is a testament to the quality of the club and staff.

"I was looking to return to the UK after my previous experience of county cricket, which I greatly enjoyed and when Yorkshire made the offer I didn't think twice. To wear the same white rose Sachin Tendulkar did is going to be a great feeling for me. I hope I can contribute to further success."