Playing domestic cricket in England was a rite of passage for several prominent Indian players back in the day. Rahul Dravid turned out for Kent, Sourav Ganguly represented Glamorgan, Northamptonshire and Lancashire, Sachin Tendulkar played for Yorkshire, and VVS Laxman signed for Lancashire.
With the arrival of the Indian Premier League (IPL), the presence of Indian players in county cricket has gradually declined. But there can be no denying the fact that Indian players can benefit massively from playing in English conditions.
In recent times, we’ve seen the likes of Ravichandran Ashwin, Cheteshwar Pujara and Ishant Sharma, turning out for different county sides in England. Shreyas Iyer will also be seen playing in the Royal London One-Day Cup in Lancashire colors.
On that note, here are five Indian players who could benefit from playing county cricket in England.
#1 Prithvi Shaw
The young opener went through a rough phase in the last few months before making a splendid comeback in the Vijay Hazare Trophy.
However, given the number of contenders for the opener's slot in India, he won't find it easy to return to the national team.
A good call for the Mumbai opener would be to try his luck in county cricket.
Given how the Indian side have struggled against the moving ball in recent years, Prithvi Shaw's county stint could make a good case for him in the upcoming Pataudi Trophy.
#2 Manish Pandey
The Karnataka batsman was part of the Indian limited-overs squad not long back. Despite representing India since his Under-19 days, Mansih Pandey's international career didn’t take off at the same level as some of his Under-19 teammates like Virat Kohli and Ravindra Jadeja.
At 31, he would need to give his best to bolster his chances of becoming a part of the Indian squad once again. Perhaps he can take a leaf out of Shreyas Iyer's book and play in the Royal London One-Day Cup.
#3 Bhuvneshwar Kumar
Bhuvneshwar Kumar made his comeback into the Indian team in the ongoing ODI series against England. The UP pacer has faced a lot of competition for a place in Team India's playing XI from new and upcoming bowlers of late.
Given his previous success in England, he would be a top choice for several county sides. India didn’t have a first-class competition this season, and Kumar can make best use of a county stint to get a good deal of first-class cricket under his belt and return to the Test fold.
#4 Kuldeep Yadav
The left-arm spinner from Kanpur has been in discussions over the last few months. His dip in form in 2019 and 2020 was closely analyzed, and while some believe he needs to change his IPL franchise to change his fortunes, others think he needs to be given more chances to prove himself.
Kuldeep could help his own cause by playing some county cricket, perhaps for Somerset, where he’d find some assistance from the Taunton surface.
#5 Hardik Pandya
Despite his injury concerns, the Mumbai Indians star is a regular across all formats for India. The big-hitting all-rounder has been a utility man for Team India, especially in white-ball cricket.
Hardik Pandya makes for an attractive package in limited-overs formats and several counties will line up to sign him for the Royal London One-Day Cup. He can sign up for a short stint with one of the counties and make use of the invaluable experience in subsequent overseas tours for India.