Lancashire Lightning have signed big-hitting New Zealand batsman Martin Guptill ahead of their defence of the NatWest T20 Blast title.
The 29 year-old will arrive a Old Trafford once his commitments with the Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League have concluded.
The Auckland-born player has a fearsome reputation with the bat and was the first New Zealander to hit a double century in one-day internationals. He is also the current holder of the highest score (237 not out) in the ICC World Cup and is regarded as one of the world’s best batsmen in T20 cricket.
He is expected to play for Lightning during the first six matches as they bid to become the first county to retain the domestic T20 title before linking up with the New Zealand squad for their tour of South Africa.
Guptill, who has played county cricket for Derbyshire in previous seasons, has featured in 61 T20 Internationals for the Black Caps and has an impressive strike rate of 131.44.
Cricket director and head coach, Ashley Giles, said: “Martin is a formidable batsman, particularly in white ball cricket, and is currently ranked as the world’s third best batsman in T20 cricket.
“He’s currently playing IPL cricket alongside Jos Buttler and will be ready to hit the ground running when he arrives at Emirates Old Trafford.
“He’s got the ability to take games away from the opposition very quickly once he gets going and I’m sure our fans will really enjoy watching him play.”
Guptill said "I am delighted to be heading back to England for another stint of county cricket, particularly for a club with such a rich history as Lancashire.
“I hope I can make a real impact and help with their pursuit for another trophy in white ball cricket."