India offspinner R Ashwin, who had been left out of the limited-overs leg of the tour of Sri Lanka, will play county cricket this season. He could be available as early as Worcestershire's match against Gloucestershire starting on August 28. ESPNcricinfo had earlier reported that Worcestershire had shown interest in availing Ashwin's services towards the end of their season.
Ashwin's India team-mate left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja is also in talks with the counties, but it as yet unclear whom he will play for.
Worcestershire are currently placed second in division two of the county championships. Ashwin could come up against another India team-mate, Cheteshwar Pujara, in his second match as Worcestershire take on the table-leaders Nottinghamshire starting on September 5. Pujara is all set to continue playing for Nottinghamshire, whom he signed up for at the start of the season, following the conclusion of the Tests against Sri Lanka. Pujara scored 223 runs for them in five innings over four matches, including a match-winning hundred against Gloucestershire.
This will be Ashwin's first stint in county cricket. The last time India toured England for a Test series, he was played in only two of the five Tests, losing out to Jadeja in the first three. India have another five-Test series coming up in England next year.
India's next assignment after the Sri Lanka tour is the five ODIs against Australia starting on September 17. If Ashwin is selected for those matches, he might play only two matches in England. If he is not, he could go on till the end of the season as Worcestershire make a push for promotion.
Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo