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News

Rahane to play for Leicestershire after WI tour; Pujara to return for Sussex

Rahane had signed the deal in January but his Test comeback delayed his participation

Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara batted through the middle session on day four for 49 runs, England vs India, 2nd Test, Lord's, London, 4th day, August 15, 2021

Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara will be back in England after the West Indies tour  •  AFP/Getty Images

Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara will play in division two of the County Championship after the West Indies tour in July, and will represent Leicestershire and Sussex respectively. Pujara has already played six games for Sussex this season before the WTC final, and scored three centuries and a half-century in eight innings.
Rahane recently made a successful comeback to the Indian team during the WTC final against Australia earlier this month with scores of 89 and 46. In the absence of the injured Shreyas Iyer, Rahane could again be picked for the West Indies tour. Before the WTC final, India's head coach Rahul Dravid had said that good performances could give Rahane a longer run in Tests even when the injured players come back.
Rahane had signed the deal with Leicestershire in January and was supposed to play eight first-class games and also the entire 50-over Royal London Cup from June to September, after his IPL stint with Chennai Super Kings.
However, he couldn't join his county side immediately after the IPL because of his Test comeback.
"Ajinkya, after the two Tests in the West Indies [scheduled to end on July 24], is supposed to fly directly to England and join Leicestershire for the remainder of the season," a BCCI source told PTI. "He will play the Royal London Cup in August and a possible four county games in September as he is unlikely to be a part of the white-ball scheme of things."
This will be Rahane's second county stint, having played for Hampshire in 2019 when he was dropped from the ODI World Cup side.
While most of the top India players will shift their focus towards ODIs ahead of the Asia Cup and World Cup, Rahane will get more red-ball game time through September, before he is back in India for the domestic season.
Pujara, meanwhile, had started his county season in April with a century against Durham and followed it with hundreds against Gloucestershire and Worcestershire as well. He was also the Sussex captain in the six games he played, where he scored 545 runs at an average of 68.12. He will also feature in the Royal London Cup, like last year.
Currently, left-arm quick Arshdeep Singh is the only Indian in the county circuit, playing for Kent in his maiden county season. He has played one game so far, returning figures of 2 for 43 and 2 for 90 as Surrey chased down 501.