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Gale delighted to get his man

— 16 January 2020

New overseas signing Ravi Ashwin’s influence on Yorkshire Cricket is set to extend beyond just his wickets and runs in the Specsavers County Championship this summer, with the India star looking to advance his own coaching experience.

Ashwin is Yorkshire’s third overseas signing of the winter and their fourth recruit in all.

Keshav Maharaj will begin the season by playing the first two Championship matches before Ashwin takes over in that competition after his commitments at the Indian Premier League with the Delhi Capitals finish in late May. The plan is for him then to be available for the remainder of the season in four-day cricket.

West Indian Nicholas Pooran has been signed up to play in the Vitality Blast, while the marquee domestic signing has come in the form of England batsman Dawid Malan on a four-year contract after his departure from Middlesex.

“I think we’ve done some good business this year and have done it early,” said White Rose coach Andrew Gale.

Ashwin was the leading wicket-taker throughout the last decade across all forms of international cricket, with the 33-year-old claiming 564 scalps (364 in Tests, 150 in ODIs and 52 in T20Is).

In terms of his coaching ambitions, Yorkshire are only too happy to have him around during the Royal London one-day Cup, while he will work closely with the club’s young spinners such as James Logan and Jack Shutt.

“We saw the impact Kesh had on our young spinners, and it was mentioned at the end of the season how they wanted to mirror his preparation in pre-season,” said Gale. “We’re hoping Ravi has the same kind of impact.

“He’s looking to get into coaching, so we’ve spoken about that with him. He will stay on when we play the 50-over competition to help out a bit, and that will be good for everybody.”

  • Yorkshire will be Ashwin’s third county, with his most recent spell coming with Nottinghamshire last year.

    “He ticks a lot of boxes for us,” continued Gale, who described the player as a “bubbly character”.

    “We need balance in our team, someone who can bat. He has got Test hundreds and has done well for Notts and for Worcester.

    “With the ball, he’s versatile, which you need to be playing a lot of cricket at Headingley. In the first innings, you need to contain and take your wickets by building pressure – going for under three an over. Second innings when it turns, you’ll naturally come into the game.”

    “There’s no doubt Ravi can do both roles because he’s world class.

    “To get a player of his calibre for the period of time we have is a good scalp.”

    While the plan is to have Ashwin available from shortly after the IPL until the end of the season, things can change. And Gale is comfortable in the knowledge that Maharaj could return for a second spell of the season if required.

    He will initially play in matches against Gloucestershire at Headingley and Essex at Chelmsford in April before returning home to Durban to get married.

    Last season, he claimed a stunning 38 wickets in only five Division One fixtures.

    Gale added: “Had it been somebody else, we maybe wouldn’t have signed a spinner for such a short period of time at the start of the season. But we know what we’re getting with Kesh. There will be no period of transition or settling in.

    “We want to keep Kesh around for as long as we can. We want to keep that relationship with him. He’s a great lad who works so hard on his game. Ultimately, he’s a great performer, as he showed last year.

    “His availability later in the season is better, so if anything happens with Ashwin in terms of injury or a change of availability, maybe he can come back over again.”

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