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IPL star Bhatia set for Himley
8:58am Wednesday 20th June 2012 in Cricket
HIMLEY CC’s squad is set to be boosted by the arrival of Indian Premier League star Rajat Bhatia.
The 32-year-old all-rounder, who played every game as the Kolkata Knight Riders’ claimed this year’s title, has signed as the Stourbridge Road side’s overseas player.
Club officials hope Bhatia, who took a wicket in the IPL’s showpiece final last month, will arrive in time for Saturday's home clash with Brockhampton.
Himley had initially opted to start the Birmingham League season without an overseas player and skipper Stuart Wedge revealed a variety of factors, including a three match losing streak and the uncertain availability of several players, had influenced the change of heart.
He said: “During the tough run we had there were a few worries with injuries and availability was short.
“Nobody was panicking but players like Ben Smith and Tom Cadmore are not going to able to play every week because of other commitments and this is really a case of bolstering the side.
“Without doubt bringing in a player like this will benefit the side and make us stronger.”
Bhatia has scored more than 4,000 first-class runs in India for both his native Delihi and Tamil Nadu with a bowling average of just below 30.
He will join a Himley side who are well placed, sitting fourth in the table as the Birmingham League Premier Division season reaches the midway point.
After last Saturday’s washout at Wolverhampton, they host Brockhampton, a team sitting just one place and one point below them in the table.
He said: “There are no easy fixtures in this league and I’m sure Brockhampton will be no different.
“They play on a fairly small ground so with out place being larger, I’m hoping we can take advantage.
“A positive result on Saturday will set us up nicely heading into the middle part of the season.”
Himley’s weather predicament was repeated throughout the region.
In Worcestershire League Division Two, Netherton’s game at Stourport Swifts was also abandoned without a ball being bowled.
Netherton are scheduled to host Rushiwck this Saturday.