London [UK], January 30 (ANI): Lancashire Cricket Club (LCC) have signed New Zealand internationals Daryl Mitchell and Colin de Grandhomme ahead of the 2023 season, the club announced on Monday.
"The all-rounders have signed overseas contracts with the Club and will be available in both the County Championship and Vitality Blast as head coach Glen Chapple adds to his already strong squad which finished runners-up in both competitions last summer," Lancashire Cricket Club said in an official statement.
De Grandhomme will arrive in the UK for the Red Rose's first four matches of the County Championship season before Mitchell joins his compatriot at Emirates Old Trafford ahead of facing Somerset on May 11.
The pair will be with the Club for the entirety of Lancashire Lightning's Vitality Blast campaign - alongside fellow overseas contracted player, Dane Vilas.
Mitchell will then be available for selection for Lancashire's County Championship fixtures against Hampshire, Surrey and Essex which all take place during the Vitality Blast group stage.
In addition to the opening four County Championship fixtures, De Grandhomme will also be available to play in - and provide cover for - the Club's red ball matches that take place in June and July during the Vitality Blast.
"We are really excited to add both Daryl and Colin to our squad and to be able to do so for such a large portion of the 2023 season - which was a key factor for us when looking to make overseas additions this year," the Director of Cricket Performance Mark Chilton said.
"The schedule, as it has been for the last few years, continues to be really challenging particularly in the middle part of the summer throughout May, June and July, due to the amount of cricket we're playing in a short period. With that in mind, we want to ensure we've got enough strength in depth to cover for all eventualities and Daryl and Colin provide us with exactly that," Chilton said.
"It has been a tricky process to try and add the right overseas players to our squad - in terms of both availability and quality - but I think we have found the perfect fit with two experienced international cricketers, who will bring quality to our changing room. Colin will be with us from the very start against Surrey in the County Championship before Daryl joins up in mid-May, the pair will then both be available throughout our Vitality Blast campaign and, alongside Dane Vilas, provide us with plenty of options for different matches and scenarios," he added.
Mitchell, who played as a professional player at Blackpool Cricket Club in 2016, averages 58.35 in his 14-match Test career and grabbed headlines on New Zealand's tour of England in 2022, scoring two fifties and three hundreds in the series, including 190 at Trent Bridge.
In 90 First-Class matches, the 31-year-old has scored 5,038 runs at an average of just over 40 and has a knack for picking up important wickets with the red ball - taking 91 with his right-arm seamers.
Mitchell's scored more than 3,000 runs in T20 cricket - including 13 fifties - and played a key role when promoted to open at the 2021 T20 World Cup in the UAE during New Zealand's run to the final, which included a match-winning 72 not out against England in the semis.
He experienced the Vitality Blast for the first time in 2021, playing eight matches for Middlesex - scoring 209 runs and picking up eight wickets. He was also drafted by Rajasthan Royals for the 2022 IPL.
"I am delighted to be joining Lancashire this English summer. The county has a proud history and having lived in Manchester as a child for a couple of years - it's special to return in this way. I had a taste of the Vitality Blast and County Championship with Middlesex in 2021 and I am really looking forward to trying to make contributions in both competitions for Lancashire this summer. The chance to test my skills again in two strong competitions is exciting as a player," Daryl Mitchell said.
"I really enjoy playing in English conditions and the special history of the game around the country. I have very fond memories of my two tours to England with New Zealand and hope to build more with Lancashire. It will also be great to link up with my old Blackpool teammates Steven Croft and Richard Gleeson having played there for a summer in 2016," he added.
A bruising, broad-shouldered batter - and disciplined medium-pace bowler - de Grandhomme has experience in all three international formats and in the Indian Premier League (IPL) and Big Bash League (BBL).
The 36-year-old averages 37.79 with the bat in First-Class cricket - with 15 centuries to his name - and has taken 212 wickets the red ball at 29.51.
In T20 cricket, de Grandhomme has represented Royal Challengers Bangalore (IPL), Adelaide Strikers (BBL) and Hampshire Hawks (Vitality Blast) and has scored over 4,000 runs striking at 156.90 whilst picking up 74 wickets.
"I'm really looking forward to the opportunity of playing for Lancashire this season. I've loved playing county cricket previously and I can't wait to get to England in April to kick off the season with the Red Rose. Lancashire has an exciting squad who have been so close to silverware in the last couple of years, hopefully I can help to add some experience to the dressing room so that we can go one step further this season," Colin de Grandhomme said.
"Emirates Old Trafford is a world-class venue, one which I have played at before in New Zealand colours and I can't wait to pull on a Lancashire shirt in front of the Club's Members and supporters," he added. (ANI)