LONDON: New Zealand’s Luke Ronchi is to replace Sharjeel Khan as one of Leicestershire’s overseas players in English county cricket’s Twenty20 Blast following the Pakistan batsman’s domestic suspension for match-fixing, it emerged Wednesday. Both Sharjeel and Khalid Latif were suspended and then charged last month by the Pakistan Cricket Board after being accused of meeting a suspicious person linked to an international betting syndicate during the Twenty20 Pakistan Super League tournament. Last year, Sharjeel struck a blistering 59 as he and Latif shared a century stand during Pakistan’s crushing nine-wicket win over England in a Twenty20 international at Old Trafford. But with Sharjeel’s cricket future uncertain while a tribunal considers his case, Leicestershire will look to wicket-keeper/batsman Ronchi, who has a strike rate of 141.33 in 32 Twenty20 internationals to provide similar fireworks. “The contractual status of Sharjeel Khan is a private matter between Leicestershire CCC and the player, and so unfortunately it is not something that we are able to comment on at this stage,” said a club statement.
Meanwhile Ronchi, 35, told the club’s website: “I am delighted to have signed with Leicestershire Foxes for the NatWest T20 Blast. “I love playing county cricket and can’t wait to get started with my new team-mates,” added Ronchi, who has previously played for Somerset and Birmingham (Warwickshire) and featured in every match of New Zealand’s run to the 2015 World Cup final. Meanwhile it was also announced that Ronchi’s fellow New Zealand international Matt Henry will play in the Blast for Leicestershire’s Midlands rivals Derbyshire. The 25-year-old fast bowler appeared in county cricket for Worcestershire last year. Henry, a veteran of six Twenty20 and 30 one-day internationals, will work alongside former Derbyshire and New Zealand batsman John Wright, whom the Midlands club have appointed as the first specialist Twenty20 coach in county cricket.