Ramnaresh Sarwan the new target for Leicestershire

Former West Indies captain Ramnaresh Sarwan has emerged as Leicestershire’s new target to fill the overseas player’s berth at Grace Road for the coming season.

Leicestershire have been forced to renew their search for an overseas batsman after they failed to agree terms with Mohammad Yousuf. The former Pakistan Test player wanted to take time out for Ramadan which would have ruled him out for most of August.

Having also lost the services of former South Africa batsman Martin van Jaarsveld, who announced his retirement shortly after he had agreed to move from Kent, Leicestershire are running out of time and options.

Tightened work permit criteria and demanding international schedules mean that few overseas players are available for a full season.

But Sarwan is available having played the last of his 87 Tests against India last July. The 31-year-old from Guyana was considered by Leicestershire as a possible Twenty20 Cup signing but they are now looking at him to play in all three domestic competitions on a season-long contract.

Apart from an overseas batsman to replace Australian Andrew McDonald, who is no longer eligible to play county cricket, and former Kent fast bowler Robbie Joseph, who is on a short-term contract, Leicestershire’s only other new recruit is slow left-armer James Sykes.

The flame-haired Sykes was born in Huntingdon, has played Minor Counties cricket for Cambridgeshire and he took 60 second team wickets last season having progressed through Leicestershire’s academy.

Meanwhile Leicestershire captain Matthew Hoggard is stepping up his recovery from a shoulder operation that he had before Christmas.

The former England swing bowler is now walking through his action again and Leicestershire expect him to be fully fit in time for their pre-season trip to Barbados in March.

Batsman Josh Cobb is also close to full fitness again after he underwent a minor operation to remove a cyst from a knee.

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