Ashwin may be back in picture for Worcestershire if the jigsaw fits
WORCESTERSHIRE could make a move to bring back Indian spinner Ravichandran Ashwin as they search for overseas players for next season.
Ashwin helped Worcestershire to win promotion after coming in at the tail end of the season.
Worcestershire need to find a replacement for John Hastings after he opted to only play T20 cricket in future.
Director of cricket Steve Rhodes said: “Would I love for him to come back? That is another option.We have looked at the schedule. Ashwin knows Hasto’s situation and he’d love to play more county cricket.
“We need to try to pin down exactly his availability because that could be something we work around.
“We could sort of use him as our banker, say we’ve got him for these games and fill some holes elsewhere so that could be a possibility. But knowing what your fixtures are is really important when you do something like that.
“You wouldn’t mind Ashwin playing at Taunton, for example, but when are we playing at Taunton? No one knows.
“Again there are many reasons why we will not rush in now, just wait and find out first all of the fixtures and then availability.We might even wait for the IPL because some guys miss out on it and then suddenly there is more availability.
“The danger there is it is February and it is not an easy situation with visas. It can be very tricky, the overseas player slot. I’ve signed many overseas players at the end of an English season and they’ve not made it to the start of the next English season because of injury.
“There is no mad rush at the moment and it’s nice to have the ability to sit back.”
Hastings and Ashwin took 36 Championship wickets between them in 2017, but Rhodes isn’t limiting his options.
He added: “I’ve had a couple of meetings with our captain Joe Leach about it.We put some names together on a big sheet — a hit list.When we looked deeply into it, we realised there is a lot of water to pass under the bridge.
“The IPL plays a major part in a lot of the top players’ schedules with the extraordinary money and that’s their priority. One of the aspects with us is we don’t want to wait until June.We want an overseas player from day one.
“Whether we break it up into blocks, that could be an option. Whether we try and take someone for the whole season, that is another option.
“When we’ve had these two meetings, we’ve decided let’s not rush, take our time and see how things materialise.
“The good thing now is it gives us a bit of flexibility to plug some holes in the squad but having said all that it is really important to say we are all disappointed for John that his career in the longer and 50-over formats has ended.
“It is not a nice time for any cricketer and for someone as whole-hearted, well-liked and popular in our dressing room as John it’s a big blow.
“We wish him all the best in the T20 this winter and it’s a shame his body has not quite stood up to the longer form.”
Just champion: Ravi Ashwin, topleft, celebrates winning the Division Two title with Worcestershire last month