Gloucestershire have signed New Zealand batsman Kane Williamson as their overseas player for the coming season.
Williamson, 20, has signed a one-year contract to play in all competitions. He is currently at the World Cup as part of the New Zealand squad and will join the county when the competition finishes.
The Northern Districts player said: “I am really excited to have signed with Gloucestershire for this season. It is a great opportunity and I am looking forward to the challenges ahead.”
Fellow Kiwi John Bracewell, Gloucestershire’s director of cricket, said: “Kane brings his youth and a supposed lack of experience. I can assure Gloucestershire supporters, however, that not only does his early international record (scoring a century on his Test debut) indicate great talent, but I am aware of his work ethic and personal drive.
“He is a type of player from the Mike Hussey mould, driven to succeed through hard work and dedication, and will be a great example not only to our younger players, but also to some of our more senior batsmen, who have yet to fulfill their potential.”
Williamson is a right-hand batsman, who made his first-class debut in 2006-07 and played his first game for New Zealand Under-19s against India shortly afterwards.
He led New Zealand in the Under-19 World Cup in Malaysia in 2008 and made his Test debut against India at Ahmedabad in November 2010, scoring 131 in New Zealand’s first innings.
Williamson has since played in four more Tests and averages 33.22. He has a first-class batting average of 43.17 and has played in 11 one-day internationals, scoring a century against Bangladesh in October 2010 and averaging 25.3. He was the highest run-scorer in New Zealand’s domestic one-day competition in 2009-10 with 621 runs at 77.62.
Gloucestershire captain Alex Gidman said: “It is great news that Kane is joining us. I am looking forward to him contributing on and off the pitch.
“It is a great challenge for him and an opportunity to develop his own game. I am sure he will bring plenty for our younger players, in particular, to learn from. He has obvious qualities demonstrated by scoring a century on his Test debut against the current number one Test team, India.”
Williamson is Gloucestershire’s second overseas signing for 2011, the county having already recruited Muttiah Muralitharan exclusively for the t20 tournament.