Yorkshire have signed Australia star Aaron Finch as an overseas player for part of the 2014 county campaign.
The powerful opening batsman has been predominantly recruited to play in the NatWest T20 Blast for the Vikings, although he has been registered to play in all forms of the game.
He will play some LV= County Championship cricket in the absence of New Zealand batsman Kane Williamson while he tours the West Indies between late May and July.
Finch spent a season playing club cricket for York side Clifton Alliance in 2009. The 27-year-old Victorian is now a fixture in Australia’s one-day and Twenty20 sides and is ranked as the third-best batsman in the world in the latter format.
He holds the world record for the highest-ever T20 international innings – 156 against England at Southampton last August.
Finch, who will be hot property in today’s Indian Premier League auction, will arrive at Headingley after his IPL commitments.
It is hoped he will debut against reigning T20 champions Northamptonshire at Headingley on Friday, May 16, the opening fixture of the competition.
The Melbourne Renegades captain said: “It is a great honour to be joining Yorkshire. This is one of the biggest cricket clubs in the world, with a history and tradition second to none.
“I’ve heard so much about the place and can’t wait to join up with Jason Gillespie and the rest of the squad in May.
“When I heard Yorkshire was interested in signing me, I had no hesitation. I had a good chat with Darren Lehmann and he recommended that I joined. He can’t speak highly enough of the place and Yorkshire’s loyal supporters.
“I hope to play in all formats while I’m at the club. Even though the T20 season will be very exciting, I’m looking forward to testing myself in red-ball cricket too.”
With the schedule for New Zealand’s tour of the West Indies unconfirmed, it is unclear how much Finch and Williamson will play together in Twenty20 cricket.
It is likely that Finch, who averages only 28.19 in the first-class game, will make his Championship debut in the home Roses clash with Lancashire on Sunday, May 25.
Yorkshire captain Andrew Gale, who met up with Finch during his recent spell of grade cricket in Melbourne, said: “I think two or three other counties (were interested) but the biggest thing was playing some four-day cricket.
“I went out for lunch with him over there to see what he’s like as a character really. He’s a good lad.”
Director of cricket Martyn Moxon also believes the pull of four-day cricket was key, saying: “It’s not a budget-buster by any means and I’m sure Aaron could have got more (money) elsewhere. He’s shown he’s keen to play for Yorkshire.”
Meanwhile, Moxon has ruled himself out of replacing Andy Flower as England’s new team director.