Durham will restrict their overseas signings for this season to the little-known South African David Miller, who will join them for the duration of the Friends Provident t20.
The county are also confident that Paul Collingwood will be fit to join Miller, a 21-year-old left-handed batsman, in the Twenty20 Cup competition.
Collingwood, who is to undergo keyhole knee surgery after the World Cup, should be fit and available for the first game at home to Warwickshire on June 2.
Miller comes highly recommended by Dale Benkenstein, who has played with him for the Natal team, Nashua Dolphins, and is to captain Durham in one-day cricket this season.
After making his debut last year, Miller has featured in 13 one-day internationals and six Twenty20 games for South Africa. In three of his six T20 innings he has been unbeaten and he averages 41. Miller narrowly missed out on selection for the World Cup squad and made a good start for the Dolphins in their Pro20 campaign last month.
He suffered a bizarre dismissal on 26 in the first match when his powerful drive hit batting partner Loots Bosman on the helmet and flew into the hands of cover. But in the next match, against the Warriors in East London, Miller scored 90 off 57 balls.
On his first visit to play in England, Miller said: “I’m excited about joining up with Dale and the rest of the squad. I’ve heard plenty of good things about the club and their ambition to do well in this format and I think I can contribute significantly.”
Durham coach Geoff Cook said: “He’s from Durban and Dale has seen him grow up. He’s played with him, seen how he hits a cricket ball, seen how he approaches games, how he plays in big games, and takes the pressure. He will bring match-winning qualities and has a lot of ambition.”
Last season Durham signed New Zealander Ross Taylor and South African Albie Morkel for the T20 campaign, but neither was available this year and Cook confirmed there would be no more signings for this season.
Durham left for Dubai today (March 25) hoping to claim the Emirates Twenty20 (ET20) crown on April 1. Prior to that they will practise for two days then have a two-day practice match and a 40-over game against Sussex.
In the ET20 they will come up against the team who dethroned them as county champions, Nottinghamshire, along with Sussex, a Fly Emirates XI and an MCC team which includes former Indian skipper Sourav Ganguly.
Cook added: “The trip allows us to have a significant amount of outdoor practice, which is vital because of the early start to the domestic season. Our ground has taken a bit of a battering over the winter, so we haven’t been able to practise outdoors.”