Ajinkya Rahane to play English County cricket for Leicestershire
Former India vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane is all set for his second stint in the English domestic cricket as he has signed up for a season-long stint with Leicestershire, as he will be playing as many as eight County matches with the red-ball and will be available for the entirety of the one-day 50-overs competition.
The Indian cricketer, who captained Mumbai in domestic cricket competition Ranji Trophy in India, will be teaming up with South Africa’s Wiaan Mulder and Afghanistan’s fast bowler Naveen ul Haq at the County side Leicestershire.
Ajinkya Rahane’s full stint with Leicestershire will begin once he is free from his duties in the Indian Premier League (IPL) for the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) yet to announce the dates for the IPL 2023 edition.
The right-handed middle-order batsman, who last captained India in their famous series win in Australia in 2020-21 in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, said in a statement,
“I’m really happy to be joining Leicestershire for the upcoming season. I can’t wait to play alongside my new teammates and explore the vibrant city of Leicester.”
Claude Henderson, the director of cricket for Leicestershire said,
“I’m extremely excited to welcome Ajinkya to Leicestershire. He comes with a lot of experience and a tremendous work ethic. It’s a great opportunity for us to tap into that. I had conversations with [assistant coach] Alfonso Thomas and [head coach] Paul Nixon, who had eyed Ajinkya in the past, so he was always on our radar. It was a case of seeing what the team needed, which was definitely a senior overseas batsman, so we are delighted to have secured someone of Ajinkya’s calibre.”
The 34-year-old right-handed batsman, who last played Test cricket for India in January 2022 and was dropped from the side owing to poor form with the bat that lasted for more than 3 years, bounced back strongly for Mumbai, even though the domestic giants failed to progress into the knockouts round of the Ranji Trophy.
His side Mumbai were locked in a thrilling battle with Maharashtra as neither side could progress into the quarter-finals owing to their failure to take first-innings lead. Both Mumbai and Maharashtra needed at least a first-innings lead to progress into the quarter-finals, but they finished at identical first innings totals and towards the end of the match, Mumbai could not chase an improbable target set for them. This led Ajinkya Rahane to call for five-day matches in First-Class cricket.
Ajinkya Rahane said,
”First-class cricket can become five-day cricket. We play Test matches over five days and in five days the possibility of a result is almost guaranteed. You will get more results. Every game should be result-oriented. In four-day games, on flat decks, you don’t really get results. We tried to get as many results as possible, but it becomes challenging. In five-day cricket, that will happen more frequently. I don’t know how it can be fit into the calendar, but five-day cricket will make domestic cricketers get used to the rigours of first-class cricket.”
“If you play out a session, you can save a match in four-day games, but if you are made to slog for three more sessions, it will give them a better opportunity to develop better Test cricketers,” he said.
“It can automatically be carried forward into international cricket,”Ajinkya Rahane added.