R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja in line to play county cricket
What's the story?
It is very rare to see an Indian cricketer taking part in overseas leagues irrespective of the format. Though some of the former cricketers, including the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly, VVS Laxman et al. have taken part in England's County Championships, the modern-day players rarely travel to England and play in the tournament.
But, we could see a change in the trend as Indian cricketers are willing to take part in the Championships as some of the teams are interested in acquiring them.
According to reports in ESPNcricinfo, "R Ashwin is one of those who have been identified as an ideal candidate by Worcestershire with a view to playing the last few weeks of the English season. The club's director of cricket, Steve Rhodes, confirmed that Ravindra Jadeja is also of interest. Other first-class counties are understood to be exploring their options, too."
In case you didn't know...
India's tour of Sri Lanka gets over on September 6, which means the Indians could be available for the last three rounds of the county Championship season.
In the past, Indians were not allowed to take part in the championships thanks to their packed schedule and BCCI's refusal to issue a No Objection Certificate.
Extra cover: Why the Indian players should play County cricket
During England's tour of India in 2016, Indian skipper Virat Kohli expressed his desire to play in County cricket to get himself prepared for India's tour of England in 2018.
India have found England as a tough place to tour in the past as they lost their last series in the Island by a 3-1 margin while they were whitewashed in the 2011 tour. It is not about the result, it is about the way the players play. Even some of India's best cricketers have found it difficult to get going in the last couple of tours and a stint in the County champions will help them get used to the conditions.
In the last few seasons, Cheteshwar Pujara has represented Derbyshire, Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire and his current team Notts are willing to have him back for their last few matches after the completion of Sri Lanka series.
Also read: The significance of Cheteshwar Pujara
Parallels from history
Playing in the County cricket has always done a lot of good for the Indian cricketers. Zaheer Khan, who lost his form in 2005, went to England, played for Worcestershire and rediscovered his lost touch. When he returned, he had his best years with the national team.
Harbhajan Singh's stint with Surrey, Ganguly's stint with Glamorgan helped the duo to perform better later in their careers.
The BCCI should alter their stand on Indians playing in County cricket and should encourage the players to take part in it. It will surely help them in getting used to the conditions and improve their game.
As mentioned above, Cheteshwar Pujara is one batsman who regularly plays County cricket and it has clearly made a difference in his approach. Other players should also take a cue from the Saurashtra batsman and take part in County cricket to improve their game.