indian star ravichandran ashwin is returning to worcestershire for the climax of the 2018 campaign.
the county have signed the off spinner for the final two specsavers county championship matches against essex at chelmsford and yorkshire at New Road.
the 31-year-old will link up with the county at the conclusion of india’s current tour of england and will replace wayne parnell as the county’s overseas player.
ashwin made a massive impact on and off the field after being signed for the final four championship matches of last summer in helping the county to gain promotion to division one.
he picked up 20 wickets, including two five-wicket hauls and also made crucial runs with the bat batting at number six and averaged 42.
but in addition ashwin made a major impact in the dressing room and fitted in superbly with the rest of the squad.
ashwin said at the conclusion of his spell at worcestershire that he would “love to come back” and that the tightly knit dressing room is “one i will cherish forever.”
worcestershire have been keen for many months to re-sign ashwin and have received the green light from the board of control of india.
worcestershire ceo matt rawnsley, who has played a major role in the negotiations when signing all overseas players, said: “we are delighted to have ashwin coming back for what could be a key part of the season.
“he is one of the best spinners in world cricket and the influence he had when here last season cannot be under-estimated.
“the lads all speak so highly of him, the impact he had on the field and the way he slotted in so well off the pitch and he was willing to offer advice to our young spinners like ben twohig.
“kevin (sharp) is delighted to have ashwin coming back and i would also like to thank our vice-chairman tim curtis for the part he played in the negotiations before i arrived here.”
head coach sharp echoed rawnsley’s sentiments and said: “ashwin is world class and he loved it at worcestershire.
“conversations have been ongoing about him coming back and i’m sure he will be a great fillip for us.
“he had a massive input for us on and off the field last summer in helping us gain promotion and he is a high class individual..”
ashwin is currently ranked the number five test bowler in the world via the official icc rankings.
last year represented his first taste of county cricket when he became be the first indian player to play for worcestershire since zaheer khan in 2006.
ashwin has taken 316 wickets in 58 tests at an average of 25.34.
he has also been a force with the bat with 2,163 test runs at an average of 30.46 with four centuries and had been an opening batsman before turning to off-spin.
ashwin features regularly in the ipl and has played for chennai super kings, rising pune super giants and, in 2018, kings x1 punjab.
he made his test debut against the west indies in 2011 at delhi and picked up nine wickets and became the fastest indian player to 100 test wickets.