YORKSHIRE have signed New Zealand batsman Jeet Raval until the end of the season.
Raval has been recruited for the last four County Championship games, beginning with the match against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge on September 4.
However, he will also cover for his international captain Kane Williamson, Yorkshire’s main overseas player, who is set to feature in the next two Championship matches, against Worcestershire and Somerset, before the conclusion of his short-term deal.
Williamson suffered a bruised left ring finger in taking a brilliant catch in the T20 game at Nottinghamshire last Friday, but he returned to the side at Northamptonshire last night.
It means that Yorkshire have another overseas option should Williamson be further incapacitated, with counties permitted to field just one overseas player at a time in Championship cricket.
The 29-year-old Raval, a left-handed opener with a correct method, said that he is relishing his move to Emerald Headingley.
“I’m absolutely thrilled to get this opportunity,” he said. “I’ve had a quiet winter until now doing some fitness and indoor training in Auckland, so it is really nice to have this opportunity leading into our (New Zealand’s) series in UAE in October and November.
“It has worked out really well, and I would love to get out there and make a contribution.
“I’m a fairly orthodox player. I steady myself to bat for long periods of time, and my role as an opening batsman is to deny the opposition for long periods and set up a good total that we can bowl at.”
It will be the Indian-born Raval’s first taste of county cricket.
“I’ve spoken to a lot of guys in New Zealand who have played county cricket in recent years,” he said.
“They have spoken very highly of the standard, especially in Division One, and I will be having a yarn to Kane Williamson to get as much information as I can to ensure that I’m prepared ahead of my first game.
“He has already said that it is a great club with a great bunch of lads, and I’m sure that I will speak with him more and have an in-depth conversation about the team and the daily routine.
“I’m just looking forward to the opportunity.”
Martyn Moxon, Yorkshire’s director of cricket, said that he was thrilled to get Raval on board.
It has become increasingly difficult in recent times for counties to obtain overseas coverage for the whole season, due to the proliferation of international and T20 franchise cricket, with Yorkshire grateful to sign a player of Raval’s quality.
“We are delighted that Jeet has agreed to join us,” said Moxon.
“The plan is for him to take over from Kane after the Somerset match and be with the squad until the end of the season.
“Kane has spoken highly of Jeet, and we look forward to him joining and hopefully having a successful period with us.”
Raval has played 11 Test matches, scoring 648 runs at an average of 38.11.
Earlier this year, he took part in the two-Test series against England in New Zealand which Williamson’s Kiwis won 1-0.