India spinner Ravichandran Ashwin will play county cricket for the first timeafter joining Worcestershire until the end of the season.

Ashwin, who is ranked third in the International Cricket Council's Test bowling rankings, will replace John Hastings as the Pears' overseas player for the final four games of the Specsavers Division Two campaign.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India has not always been keen to sign off its star players for domestic tournaments overseas, but with a high-profile Test series in England next summer it is seen as beneficial for Ashwin to gain extra experience here.

He had already been left out of India's one-day series in Sri Lanka, openingthe door for Worcestershire.

Worcestershire's Director of cricket Steve Rhodes said:

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.

Worcestershire's Director of cricket, Steve Rhodes

Ashwin brings with him a fine record of 286 wickets in 51 Tests, to go with 150 one-day international wickets and 52 in T20 internationals.