India news August 19, 2014

Pujara granted permission to play in County Championship


Cheteshwar Pujara, who was among the India batsmen who failed in the five-Test series against England, has sought permission to play in the remainder of the English County Championship this season and will be allowed to do so by the BCCI. Leicestershire have begun negotiations to sign him for the final month of the season, though other counties could also show an interest now they are aware of his availability.

"Pujara is not part of the ODI or T20 team now and is free to play. He sought my permission to play in county cricket and I have asked him to send me the details. I have decided to allow him to play," BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel told PTI from Vadodara.

Leicestershire, who have previously signed Anil Kumble and Virender Sehwag as overseas players, currently lie bottom of Division Two with four games remaining and have not won in the Championship since 2012. "We have been in contact with Pujara," Paul Heywood, the Leicestershire chairman, told ESPNcricinfo.

Pujara, considered a Test specialist, and Virat Kohli were expected to be the bulwarks of the young India batting line-up, but failed to live up to their reputations, in conditions conducive to swing bowling. The team suffered three massive defeats - two of them by an innings - and squandered the series after taking a 1-0 lead at Lord's, which hosted the second Test. Pujara tallied 222 in 10 innings, with a high score of 55, averaging 22.20 in the series.

Though Pujara would be unable to greatly aid Leicestershire's ambitions this season, the club hope the potential signing demonstrates their ambitions and would increase their relevance to the local Asian community. Leicestershire recently announced the departure of their CEO, Mike Siddall, with Wasim Khan believed to be favourite to be appointed in his place. Wasim was the first British-born Muslim of Pakistan origin to play county cricket and is seen as a good candidate to help attract more supporters from the inner-city and Asian communities.

Most other possible suitors - the likes of Hampshire, Yorkshire, Worcestershire, Somerset and Nottinghamshire - have confirmed they are not pursuing Pujara.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Steve on August 23, 2014, 15:40 GMT

    He's coming to Derbyshire...

  • Dummy4 on August 22, 2014, 21:36 GMT

    Pujara, I know you will prove yourself!!! You did well, but sometimes if your opening pair is inconsistent like this time, and whole team is under-performing, can harm your batting as well.. Capitalize each and every moment of your County Season, it can turn you around one of the most famous Test Cricket Batsman in the world.

  • Dummy4 on August 21, 2014, 10:32 GMT

    Sensible decision by Pujara and equally sensible by BCCI for giving quick consent. But, why Pujara alone; every one in the India team should go through a fairly long English County stint!

  • Dal on August 21, 2014, 9:09 GMT

    batsmen and bowlers should spend time in the county system

  • Unni on August 21, 2014, 6:45 GMT

    Pujara was given NOC only because he was not part of the ODI/T20/IPL teams. If he belonged to any one of these, they wouldnt have.

    Yet happy to see this initiative from Pujara. If only guys like Kohli/Aaron/Ishant etc did the same

  • Anny on August 21, 2014, 2:48 GMT

    Gambhir, Vijay,pankaj singh,aaron,ishanth should do the same.

  • Abhishek on August 20, 2014, 19:13 GMT

    Hope he benefits- although I have some doubts. Gautam Gambhir did not apparently benefit a lot from his stint with Essex. But experience is experience. Sachin, Dravid, Kumble, Srinath, Azhar, Zaheer all played county cricket and all had fantastic records in England- although we may note that the current English attack is the strongest ever after Botham & Willis

  • Dummy4 on August 20, 2014, 19:09 GMT

    Hoping for better show at least in county Cricket

  • Android on August 20, 2014, 17:22 GMT

    India should send some promising pacers to play county cricket too. Zaheer Khan became a wicket taking bowler after his stint with county cricket.

  • Roshan on August 20, 2014, 15:51 GMT

    Finally someone has taken steps to improve their Test game overseas. This is just what India needed and it shows Pujara cares more about Test matches than making a quick buck in the IPL, assuming he will continue it for more seasons. Hopefully the likes of Vijay, Kohli (although I doubt it), Rahane and KL Rahul follow his lead.

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