By Matt Somerford
Derbyshire have agreed terms with India right-hander Cheteshwar Pujara for the final three games of the LV= County Championship season.
Pujara is set to replace overseas signing Shivnarine Chanderpaul – who has returned to West Indies for their upcoming Test series with Bangladesh – subject to paperwork on the deal being completed.
"We're an ambitious team and have an exciting group of players who are developing fast,” Derbyshire elite performance director Graeme Welch said.
“Pujara joining us at this stage of the season is a real boost for the lads and the remaining championship matches we have ahead of us will give him exactly the experience he is looking for.”
Pujara endured a difficult summer as the tourists lost the Investec Test series 3-1 to England and, after returning to India, he is due to return to these shores early next month looking to further develop his game in English conditions.
The 26-year-old has established himself as India’s number three and, with a Test record of 1,872 runs at an average of 49.25, is a more than adequate replacement in the absence of Chanderpaul.
"With Shiv now back in West Indies preparing for Test match action and Marcus North focusing on our one-day campaign, Pujara will bring an added dimension to the side as we look to finish our championship season strongly,” Welch added.
Pujara has already played at the 3aaa County Ground this season, scoring 81 for the Indians in their tour match before the Test series.
His first-class record is also impressive with 8,077 runs in 98 matches at an average of 58.
Derbyshire chief executive, Simon Storey added: "We've been focused on delivering a long-term legacy from the visit of the Indian tourist side to Derby in July, including the creation of our Cricket Derbyshire India Club.
“We hope the opportunity to see Pujara play county cricket for Derbyshire will inspire cricket followers across the City and the wider county and open up the club to a new generation of fans.”