India fast bowler Ishant Sharma opened his account in the 2018 County Championship by picking a wicket in his opening spell for Sussex against Warwickshire at Birmingham.
No play was possible on the opening day of the match due to rain. But on Saturday, play started with Sussex bowling first following an uncontested toss. Ishant got the wicket of Warwickshire opener Will Rhodes by finding his edge from round the wicket to third slip.
Delhi pacer Ishant has changed his bowling mechanics over the years, pitching the ball up a lot more than earlier and getting more edges, bowled and lbws. His performance in the county season will decide where he is in the pecking order alongside Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah when the team for England Tests is selected.
He will make his debut for the county outfit on April 19 in a clash against Glamorgan.
With this, the limited-overs specialist will become one of several team India players plying their trade in England’s domestic first-class competition this summer.
Skipper Virat Kohli has already been given the green light for a summer stint in county cricket ahead of India’s lengthy tour of England starting this August.
While his destination has not been confirmed yet, reports indicate that Kohli will sign up with south London outfit Surrey.
Welcome to the Club, @akshar2026!
The Indian all-rounder will join us for the final six @CountyChamp matches of 2018
— Durham CCC 🏏 (@DurhamCricket) April 9, 2018
Along with Kohli, three other Indians have confirmed deals in county cricket with Cheteshwar Pujara, Ishant Sharma and Varun Aaron signing up with Yorkshire, Sussex and Leicestershire respectively.
Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin is expected to announce a county deal soon.
Patel, the only player to be retained by the Kings XI franchise ahead of the 2018 IPL, will be playing in county cricket for the first time.
— Akshar patel (@akshar2026) April 9, 2018
The 24-year-old, who has made 38 one-day international appearances for his country and a further 11 in Twenty20s, will arrive at Chester-le-Street in August ahead of matches against Glamorgan, Northamptonshire, Sussex, Middlesex, Leicestershire and Warwickshire.
A club statement said: “Durham County cricket Club is delighted to announce that Indian star Axar Patel will join the club for the final six Specsavers County Championship fixtures of the 2018 season.”
The winning bid by the broadcaster fell just shy of the billion-dollar mark at $945 million (Dh3.4 billion) approximately as the e-auction came to an end on its third day. Star India beat off aggressive competition from Sony India and Reliance Jio to clinch the deal.
This is a substantial jump from BCCI’s previous deal with the same broadcaster which stood at $750m (Dh2.7bn).
BCCI acting treasurer Anirudh Chaudhury took to Twitter and announced: “Congratulations @StarSportsIndia on bagging the BCCI Media Rights @ 6138.1 crores at an average of 60.1 crore per game.”
Congratulations @StarSportsIndia on bagging the BCCI Media Rights @ 6138.1 crores at an average of 60.1 crore per game.
— Anirudh Chaudhry (@AnirudhChaudhry) April 5, 2018
This is the second major windfall within a year for the world’s richest cricketing board after it sold the rights to the IPL for a whopping figure of $2.55 billion for a period of five-years to Star India itself in 2017.
The first of its kind online auction by the BCCI sees the value of the deal trump the IPL deal when it comes to the cost per match. The IPL deal values a single match at rupees 545 million (Dh30m) while value of each home match by India under the latest deal stands at 601 million (Dh34m).
The Indian cricket media rights are for a five-year cycle from June 2018 to March 2023 which covers 102 matches of the senior men’s team amongst others.
As things stand, Star India now rules the roost when it comes to Indian cricket, holding the rights to both the national team’s home matches as well as the lucrative IPL.