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Counties in for an Indian feast

Maxwell Harrington in London | May 09, 2003 13:23 IST

Yuvraj Singh brings to six the number of star Indian players now performing in England's much-maligned county cricket programme.

These are all players who have been involved in most of an eight-month international programme, culminating in the epic but strength-sapping World Cup run.

The long slog of hotels, coaches and laundry bills is now over for the Indian team for a long while, and the temptation to unwind with the family and take holidays without bringing a cricket bag must be enormous.

But a professional cricketer's life is but a short one and the lure of the English pound practically irresistible.

This year, county bosses have been allowed to employ more than one overseas pro, and with India enjoying a rare lengthy close season, cheque books have been brandished everywhere from Bombay to Bangalore.

Javagal Srinath's creaking body has hauled itself up to the chilly north east of England where it now resides in picturesque Durham.

Virender Sehwag has just begun twirling his bat in the east Midlands, ready to keep a large local following of British Asians bewitched at Grace Road, Leicester.

Manchester is another city with plenty of Indian interest.

And after feting the footballers they adore -- United have just pulled another Premiership title out of the fire -- sports fans there can now turn their attention to Harbhajan Singh.

The turbaned off-spinner may not be on a David Beckham-esque salary but, assuming his finger injury clears up, he should do well at Old Trafford.

Though prone to rain, it is a ground where Shane Warne and Muthiah Muralitharan have enjoyed plenty of success in the past.

One of the most exciting coups, of course, is the very recent signing of Yuvraj Singh by Yorkshire.

It was his heroic match-winning partnership with Mohammad Kaif in the NatWest Series final at Lord's last July that launched his international career.

Yorkshire were relegated into the second division of both the County Championship (the competition they won in 2001) and the National League at the end of last year.

This year is one of rebuilding and Yuvraj will find himself facing plenty of very average county "trundlers" as he bids to advance his first class average and nudge the Indian selectors over his Test credentials.

Mohammad KaifAnd let's not forget Kaif himself.

The 22-year-old right-hander is expected to make his debut for Derbyshire on June 4, in the Championship fixture against Welsh team Glamorgan.

The recently-married Rahul Dravid is another of the Indians to make it to England this year. A batsman of his quality hardly needs another tiring season for a first-class county behind his belt.

So he has nailed down a valuable contract to play for Scotland in just 11 one-day matches, starting in June.

Scotland are making their debut in the 45-over-per-side National League, which is so unfashionable these days. It is still without a sponsor even with the season now underway.

Dravid, who damaged a finger during the World Cup, has thus avoided the absurd treadmill-style life that will face some of his fellow-Indians.

The first nine days of the season, two four-day Championship matches followed by a scarcely-digestible dessert in the form of a National League game, were squeezed into a mere 10 days.

But there are certain factors that will be easier to stomach.

Few English summers escape spells of rainy days here and there -- so there will be opportunities to put the feet up and sign autographs from the small smattering of fans on show.

Certainly, if the previous experiences of Dravid at Kent and Sachin Tendulkar at Yorkshire are anything to go by, Yuvraj, Kaif and Harbhajan should be able to fit in well while learning plenty.

True, Sourav Ganguly and Lancashire did not exactly bond as smoothly as they may have done in 2000.

He managed a lowly average of just 33.89 that year and Lancashire fans have all sorts of stories of how he caused dressing-room angst and antagonised local Indian supporters.

That, however, is a story for another day.

The table below lists the Indians who have represented various counties:

Player

Team

Year

Matches

M Azharuddin

Derbyshire

(1991-1994)

31 matches

AA Baig

Somerset

(1960-1962)

23 matches

BS Bedi

Northamptonshire

(1972-1977)

110 matches

RV Divecha

Northamptonshire

(1948)

1 match

DR Doshi

Nottinghamshire

(1973-1978)

44 matches

Warwickshire

(1980-81)

43 matches

RS Dravid

Kent

(2000)

16 matches

FM Engineer

Lancashire

(1968-1976)

175 matches

SC Ganguly

Lancashire

(2000)

14 matches

SM Gavaskar

Somerset

(1980)

15 matches

Kapil Dev

Northamptonshire

(1981-1983)

16 matches

Worcestershire

(1984-85)

24 matches

AH Kardar +

Warwickshire

(1948-1950)

45 matches

A Kumble

Northamptonshire

(1995)

17 matches

Leicestershire

(2000)

2 matches

S Nazir Ali

Sussex

(1927)

1 match

IAK Pataudi #

Worcestershire

(1932-1938)

37 matches

MAK Pataudi

Sussex

(1957-1970)

88 matches

M Prabhakar

Durham

(1995)

17 matches

RJ Shastri

Glamorgan

(1987-1991)

62 matches

ED Solkar

Sussex

(1969)

1 match

J Srinath

Gloucestershire

(1995)

15 matches

SR Tendulkar

Yorkshire

(1992)

16 matches

S Venkataraghvan

Derbyshire

(1973-1975)

46 matches

(+ also appeared for Pakistan in Tests)

(# also appeared for England in Tests)

Statistics - Mohandas Menon


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Number of User Comments: 9




Sub: Name missing from list

There are names missing from the list. Dilip Vengsarkar and Ravi Shastri have also played county cricket.


Posted by Ritesh





Sub: What about Uday Joshi!!

Mr Mohandas Menon I think you forgot to mention one Indian who was not lucky enough to play test cricket, but still played couny cricket ...


Posted by Naman





Sub: Indians in County

Hi, I belive a mumbai opener Zubin Bharucha represented one of the counties in one game in Mid 1990s. regards Pranshu B


Posted by Karush M





Sub: well said

Dear Elango, You have actually stolen words from me.This is exactly what even I feel. Well said Elango. Warm regards, Sathish


Posted by sathish





Sub: no meaning

there is no meaning in playing cricket in england when you can learn better in india.i dont think that india is behind england in the ...


Posted by satyajeet




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