YORKSHIRE today signed former Clifton Alliance star Aaron Finch as an overseas player for a portion of the 2014 county campaign.
The powerful Australian opening batsman has been predominantly signed 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 has shot to fame since spending a season in the York & District Senior League’s premier division in 2009, when he scored 909 runs at an average of 69.92.
The 27-year-old Victorian is now a fixture in Australia’s one-day and Twenty20 sides, and he is ranked as the third best batsman in the world in the latter format.
He currently holds the world record for the highest ever T20 international innings – 156 against England at Southampton last August, in which he hit a world record 14 sixes.
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: “I have some experience of the area having had a year playing for Clifton Alliance a few years ago.
“I’m looking forward to meeting up with some old friends. I can’t wait to get started.
“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 in signing. 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.
“It is important for my cricket development to play in English conditions, and to help Yorkshire be a force in all forms of the game will be a good challenge for me.”
With the schedule for New Zealand’s tour of the West Indies yet to be confirmed, it is unclear how much Finch and Williamson will play together in Twenty20 cricket.
It is likely that Finch, who is expected to be at Headingley for approximately two months, will make his Championship debut in the home Roses clash with Lancashire on Sunday May 25.
In 38 first-class matches for Victoria, Australia ‘A’ or a Cricket Australia Invitation XI, he has scored 1,889 runs at an average of 28.19, including two hundreds and 13 fifties.
Finch has a busy period of cricket before he arrives at Yorkshire. He will play Sheffield Shield cricket for Victoria before a short Twenty20 series in South Africa next month, the World Twenty20 in Bangladesh and then the IPL.