Finding no takers in the cash-rich Indian Premier League, India's Test fast bowler Ishant Sharma will follow the footsteps of his teammate Cheteshwar Pujara as he is set to play English county side Sussex in five first-class and eight List A games. According to county's official website www.sussexcricket.co.uk, Ishant is awaiting formal approval from the BCCI.
The county will be getting his services from April 4 to June 4, making him available for first five fixtures in the County Championship and all eight Royal London One-Day Cup group matches.
I would like to extend a special thanks to Sussex for taking note of my ongoing performances and deeming me suitable for this opportunity. I hope to add value during my time as part of the Sussex family this season, Ishant was quoted by the county's website.
Sussexs Director of Cricket, Keith Greenfield explained the rationale behind the signing: Securing Ishant's services has been very important for us. Once Jofra (Archer) and CJ (Chris Jordan) were picked up in the IPL draft (auction), it became crucial to sign an experienced international-quality seam bowler who could provide valuable support and know-how to the rest of the seamers.
Ishant has the attributes to be very successful in early season English conditions and a great role model.
He fits the bill perfectly, and we look forward to welcoming him to Sussex Cricket.
Head Coach, Jason Gillespie added: Were delighted to secure the services of an experienced and very skilful international seamer. We believe Ishant will fit right into the Sussex dressing room and we are all looking forward to welcoming him to Hove.
The 29-year-old from Delhi made his international debut in 2007 and had since played 81 tests, 80 ODIs and 14 T20 internationals (T20Is) for India.
Only three Indian seamers have more wickets than Ishant in Test cricket, with his 234 dismissals making him the ninth most prolific Indian test bowler overall.
His most recent Test appearances came during India's three-match series against South Africa last month, where he played in the second and third tests and took eight wickets.
Ishant also has 115 ODI and eight T20I wickets to his name.
Speaking after signing for Sussex, the tall right-armer said: "Its a great honour to represent Sussex CCC, the oldest first-class county, and I am looking forward with excitement to my maiden stint in County Cricket.
Ishant stint with Sussex will be his first in County Cricket, although he has experience of bowling in England having toured with India in 2011 and 2014 and played in the 2009 ICC World T20 and 2013 ICC Champions Trophy.
He has enjoyed notable successes in English conditions, including recording his Test best figures of 7/74 during the second innings of Indias win at Lords in 2014.
He was also the fourth highest wicket-taker in the 2013 Champions Trophy, a tournament India won. His 10 victims put him behind only James Anderson (11), Mitch McClenaghan (11) and Indian teammate, Ravindra Jadeja (12) in the competitions list of top wicket-takers.
(With PTI Inputs)