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Aaron signs county deal with Leicestershire for early summer

Varun Aaron exults after bowling Hashim Amla Associated Press

India fast bowler Varun Aaron will use the coming summer to play county cricket for Leicestershire after he went unsold in the IPL auction earlier this year. Aaron will represent Leicestershire in place of Pakistan seamer Mohammad Abbas, who will have international commitments as Pakistan tour Ireland, England and Scotland in the early part of the season.

Abbas will be available for Leicestershire's opening Championship Division Two fixture against Sussex on April 20 before Aaron takes over in the first-class and 50-over format until Abbas' return for the match against Middlesex on June 20.

"I am relishing the opportunity to join the Foxes for the first part of the season," Aaron said. "Playing county cricket presents me with a great opportunity to showcase my skills. I'm looking forward to taking wickets and contributing to the success of the team."

Leicestershire had signed the Pakistan duo of Abbas and Sohail Khan together in January, but a recent recurrence of Sohail's back injury meant Leicestershire had to sign a replacement.

"Varun is a high-quality performer and his skills will be ideally suited to early season conditions in England," Leicestershire head coach Paul Nixon said. "We are delighted to secure his signature for both Specsavers County Championship games and fixtures in the Royal London One-Day Cup.

"We are getting a genuinely quick bowler in Varun, who has played a number of games for India and also enjoyed a fine domestic career. Varun is very keen to do well for us and get back in the India team again and we're really looking forward to him linking up with us."

Aaron last played international cricket when South Africa toured India in late 2015. He has since gone out of favour as India's pace attack has surged with the likes of Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav in Tests, and Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah in the shorter formats.

In 2014, after appearing in two Tests on India's tour of England, he signed for a brief spell with Durham.

Aaron is likely to be the fourth Indian player to feature in the county circuit this season after Cheteshwar Pujara (Yorkshire), Ishant (Sussex) and Virat Kohli (team not confirmed yet). While Pujara and Ishant also went unsold at the IPL auction in January, Kohli's county stint is to prepare for the five Tests in England in August.