Parkinson looking forward to Pears encounter

Callum Parkinson is looking forward to the opportunity of facing India off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin when Leicestershire travel to Worcestershire for the penultimate Specsavers County Championship fixture.

Ashwin has not been selected by India for the forthcoming ODI Series against Australia with India continuing the policy evident versus Sri Lanka in taking another look at some other spinners.

Leicestershire’s slow left armer Parkinson feels that Ashwin’s inclusion will represent an exciting challenge for the team and one that they are embracing.

“Worcestershire are playing good cricket at the minute and have been boosted by the signing of Ravi Ashwin, who is a world-class spinner – if not the best spinner in the world,” said Parkinson.

“It’s going to be a test but one that we are looking forward to. Overall, it’s a good chance to pit our wits against one of the better teams in division two.

“I’ll be looking to have a chat with him (Ravi Ashwin) at the end of the game if he is okay with that, he is a world-class performer and I’ll be looking to pick his brains at some point.”

Parkinson recently signed a new contract with the club to take him through until at least the end of the 2019 season. The spinner now wants the season to finish on another high note.

He said: “The club is in a good place moving forwards and I am delighted to extend my stay. I’ve been delighted with the amount of cricket I have played, and playing in all formats has helped my development.

“It’s been disappointing in the last couple of games as we didn’t really build on the momentum of the last couple of T20s, but I don’t think we’re far away. 

“It’s important that we get the first win because our Members and supporters deserve that. We’re looking to win the last two games and use it as something to build on for next season.

“We’re a very tight knit group of players, everyone is backing each other and we are looking to finish the season really strongly, starting at Worcestershire tomorrow.”

Parkinson, Aadil Ali and Zak Chappell are pushing for places in the Leicestershire XI after being named as part of a 13-man Leicestershire squad for the trip to New Road. Mathew Pillans has now returned to Surrey following the end of his loan spell.

Although England all-rounder Moeen Ali is unavailable for the hosts, they have received a huge boost given that fellow international off-spinner Ashwin is available.

Ashwin was originally going to be available for the final four Specsavers County Championship games of the season but India’s ODI series against Australia was brought forward. 

However, the off-spinner has been allowed to stay with Worcestershire, who enter the game on the back of a terrific victory at Nottinghamshire last week. 

All-rounders Joe Leach (eight wickets) and Ed Barnard (seven wickets and 55) were in particularly good form as Worcestershire became the first team to beat the leaders in the competition.

The result put the Pears in the box seats for promotion as they are 36 points clear of the two teams in third place. But Worcestershire have played a game more than Northants and Sussex, and Kent, who are a further four points behind, so still need 37 points to be mathematically certain of elevation.

Leicestershire (from): Cosgrove (capt), Aadil, Ackermann, Carberry, Chappell, Dearden, Dexter, Eckersley, Hill, Klein, McKay, Parkinson, Raine.

Worcestershire: Leach (capt), Mitchell, D’Oliveira, Fell, Clarke, Rhodes, Ashwin, Cox, Barnard, Tongue, Brown.