Ravichandran Ashwin, the India spinner, will be playing county cricket for the first time after he joined Worcestershire until the end of the season.

Ashwin is currently ranked third in the International Cricket Council’s Test bowling rankings. He will be replacing John Hasting as the team’s overseas player for the final four games of the Specsavers Division Two campaign.

India’s Board of Control for Cricket is not always keen to sign off its top players for domestic tournaments taking place abroad. However, with a high-profile Test series scheduled to take place in England next summer they think that it will be beneficial for Ashwin to get some extra experience playing in the UK.

He had already been left out of India’s one-day series in Sri Lanka leaving him available for Worcestershire to sign.

Steve Rhodes, the director of cricket, said, “Ravi is a fantastic international cricketer who is currently in terrific form with his game. He is ranked in the top three as a bowler in Test cricket, is a wonderful all-rounder who can bat six and scores hundreds in Test cricket. It is unlucky for John Hastings with his injury but Ravi is a wonderful cricketer for us to have at a crucial point in our season. It is a really important last few games in the Championship and to have someone of his class is a huge boost for the club. The good thing about Ravi is he has been successful on all types of pitches, in all sorts of different countries. He is a class bowler who will bowl well here.”

Ashwin has an impressive record of 286 wickets in 51 Tests, together with 150 one-day international wickets at 52 in T20 internationals.