Ajinkya Rahane, India’s Test vice-captain, is set to make his maiden appearance in County cricket, after the batsman confirmed that he will be joining Hampshire next month.
Hampshire were on the lookout for a replacement for Dimuth Karunaratne, whose availability ended when he was named Sri Lanka’s captain for the 2019 World Cup. It subsequently emerged that Rahane had written to the Board of Control for Cricket in India to officially seek permission to play first-class cricket in England.
Rahane will become the first India player to represent Hampshire. He will replace Aiden Markram, who was Karunaratne’s original replacement, before he was named in South Africa’s squad for the World Cup. Markram will wind up his stint at the end of the group stage of the Royal London One-Day Cup in early May before joining the World Cup party.
Welcome, @ajinkyarahane88! ??✍️
— Hampshire Cricket (@hantscricket) April 25, 2019
Rahane, who was overlooked for the World Cup, will be available for eight matches until the start of July. Rahane’s addition will come as a huge boost to Hampshire. India’s Test No. 5 has close to 10,000 first-class runs and averages over 50 after 125 matches.
“I am excited to be the first Indian to play for Hampshire, a county which has a glowing reputation,” Rahane said. “I hope to score runs and win as a team and would like to thank BCCI for allowing me to play.”
Giles White, Hampshire’s director of cricket, welcomed Rahane’s inclusion, saying: “We’re delighted to attract a player of Ajinkya’s class, and with both Aiden and Dimuth selected for the World Cup, we were obviously in the market for a top-order batsman.
“Ajinkya showed an interest early on and the way things have played out, it’s a great opportunity to get him over. We’re really excited to have him with us.”