For Indian batsmen, batting on the bowler-friendly wickets in England is one of the toughest challenges. Hence, every England tour is taken seriously, and a lot of time is given into the preparation. In the past, a few players in preparing for this assignment, have signed up for County cricket teams to get a before-hand taste of the English conditions. Some famous cricketers have also scored a century for an English county team.
Even now, the practice of Indian cricketers playing in the County Championship has stayed intact. While the likes of Hanuma Vihari are currently active in the competition, even Virat Kohli had once signed up to play in the County a few seasons ago. However, he could not fulfil the contract. On that note, here is a look at six well-known Indian batsmen who have scored a century for an English county team
1. Sachin Tendulkar – Yorkshire (1992)
County Championship Stats – Innings: 25 || Runs: 1070 || Hundreds: 1
Sachin Tendulkar is one of the most popular overseas cricketers to have played in England domestic cricket. However, when he played the solitary season for Yorkshire in 1992, it was only three years since Sachin had made his Test debut. He was just 19 years then.
For a 19-year-old, Sachin’s performance was good. His average of 46.52 and the knock against Durham, where he scored a century in 96 balls, was from the top drawer.
2. Sunil Gavaskar – Somerset (1980)
County Championship Stats – Innings: 22 || Runs: 664 || Hundreds: 2
One of the highest run-scorers for Team India, Sunil Gavaskar signed up for Somerset in 1980. Known for his solid technique and top-class temperament, Gavaskar could not strike it big in England.
His average was around 34 and barring one second-innings century at the Oval, Sunny did not have many impactful performances. It was a rainy summer and this could have had an impact on his form.
3. Rahul Dravid – Kent and Scotland (2000 and 2003)
County Championship Stats – Innings: 24 || Runs: 1039 || Hundreds: 1
One of the prolific Indian scorers outside the home, Rahul Dravid represented two sides in County cricket. While in 2000, it was Kent, three years later, Dravid played for Scotland.
Dravid left an impact on Kent with his performances in his debut season. He also impressed John Wright, the then coach of Kent, and a few years later, Dravid himself admitted that the Kent stint helped him improve his batting.
4. Virender Sehwag – Leicestershire (2003)
County Championship Stats – Innings: 10 || Runs: 478 || Hundreds: 2
Virender Sehwag was never known for his technique but was appreciated for his approach. After the 2003 World Cup in South Africa, Sehwag signed up to play in the County.
Although his stint had to be cut short due to an injury, he had made two centuries by then and even had the second-best average for his team that season. Sehwag never returned to play in the County.
5. Cheteshwar Pujara – Derbyshire, Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire (2013 – 2018)
County Championship Stats – Innings: 36 || Runs: 988 || Hundreds: 3
Cheteshwar Pujara is one of the contemporary Indian cricketers who has taken part in the County. In 2020, too, he had signed up with Gloucestershire but the plan got cancelled due to the pandemic. He was in line to represent Warwickshire in 2021, but an IPL contract changed the route.
Although he has scored a century for an English county team, his performances have not been great in the testing conditions. While his stats are poor, in his latest stint, India’s No.3 could not get even one century.
6. Mohammad Azharuddin – Derbyshire (1991-1994)
County Championship Stats – Innings: 52 || Runs: 2485 || Hundreds: 8
Mohammad Azharuddin is one of the best performers from the Indian contingent in County Cricket. He played two seasons of the Championship, first in 1991 and then in 1994. The Hyderabadi cricketer was in good form in both campaigns.
One of his memorable performances was when he scored a double-hundred in the second innings to help Derbyshire avoid a massive defeat in 1994. Although his team lost the game, there was massive praise for Azhar’s batting.