Cricbuzz Staff •
Ishant will be available to play the first five County Championship matches for Sussex. © Getty
Ishant Sharma, the Indian pacer, will feature in his maiden County stint as he has signed up to play for Sussex during the upcoming season. Ishant, who will be with the club from April 4 to June 4, will be available to play the first five County Championship fixtures for Sussex and will also be available for all eight of the Sussex Sharks’ Royal London One-Day Cup matches in the group stage, Sussex Cricket announced on Thursday (February 15).
Ishant will become the third Indian cricketer after MAK Pataudi and Piyush Chawla to represent Sussex in the county circuit. He also joins Cheteshwar Pujara (Yorkshire) as the second Indian to sign up to play in England’s upcoming domestic season, with both players going unsold in the IPL 2018 auction.
Speaking about his county venture, Ishant said: “It’s 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. 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.”
Keith Greenfield, Sussex’s director of cricket, said Ishant’s signing was crucial for the team, especially after Sussex regulars Jofra Archer and Chris Jordan were picked during the IPL auction. “Securing Ishant’s services has been very important for us. Once Jofra [Archer] and CJ [Chris Jordan] were picked up in the IPL draft, 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,” Greenfield added.
Although this will be his first county outing, Ishant has had experience bowling in the English conditions. The 29-year-old has played a couple of series for India in England – in 2011 and 2014, and also featured in the 2009 World T20 and the ICC Champions Trophy in 2013, finishing as the fourth-highest wicket-taker in the one-day tournament that India won. He also registered his career-best figures of 7-74 in a Test innings, during the second innings of India’s victory at Lord’s in 2014.
Welcoming Ishant’s signing, head coach Jason Gillespie said: “We’re 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 really looking forward to welcoming him to Hove.”