India batsman initially set to be available for three games but it could be extended
Vihari, an India Test regular, does not have an IPL deal and is expected to be available for at least three LV= Insurance County Championship games. The BCCI is understood to have agreed the deal in the hope that his experience in the county game will prove beneficial ahead of the World Test Championship final, which is scheduled to be played in Southampton in June, and India’s five-Test tour of England that follows.
While Warwickshire have not confirmed the approach to Vihari, an official at the BCCI did appear to do so.
“Yes, Vihari will be playing for Warwickshire this season,” Press Trust of India quoted an unnamed BCCI official as saying. “He would play a few games. He is already in England now. He will play a minimum of three games. We are trying to figure out if there is a chance to play a few more. With a curtailed domestic season this time [in India] and Vihari being a part of the Test side, he needs match practice.
“All his other Test colleagues are part of the IPL teams. Even if it’s white ball games, they will be fit and match-ready. But we need to ensure that Vihari also gets game time before the England tour. It’s not just one World Test Championship final but it’s followed by a full-fledged five-Test series. We need him ready.”
While ESPNcricinfo understands Vihari is not yet in the UK – and will not, therefore, be available for Warwickshire’s opening game of the season against Derbyshire – it is understood the process between obtaining a visa and being available to play could be as little as six days. The process for Malan is understood to take around 17 days from the moment a visa is granted. Neither man has a visa at this stage.
George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo