PROLIFIC Kiwi opener Hamish Rutherford has joined Worcestershire for the first six matches of the new county campaign.
The 29-year-old, who scored 171 against England on his Test debut, is set to make his debut in Thursday’s opening Championship clash with Leicestershire.
Rutherford will then feature for the Rapids in the first five matches in the Royal London One Day Cup with trips to Lancashire and Leicestershire before a home clash with Durham on April 24.
The New Zealander’s stint as overseas player will come to a close with a trip to Northamptonshire and a home game with local rivals Warwickshire.
Rutherford will be reunited with county keeper and red ball vice-captain Ben Cox. The pair were team-mates for two months this winter, having played for Otago Volts in the Super Smash T20 competition.
The Dunedin-born player is the son of former New Zealand captain Ken Rutherford and he previously played county cricket for Derbyshire.
Rutherford follows a distinguished list of Black Caps who have represented the county in recent years including Colin Munro, Mitchell McClenaghan and 2019 Vitality Blast capture Martin Guptill.
Rutherford, who joined with his new team-mates on Sunday, has to date played 16 Tests, four ODIs and seven T20Is and in the early part of this winter was part of the New Zealand A team which toured India.
He has scored 5,845 first class runs at an average of 35.85 – including 13 centuries – and 2,610 List A runs at 34.34 with eight hundreds.
The opener helped Otago Volts to reach the final of the 50-over Ford Trophy by top-scoring for his side with 393 runs in seven matches.
Rutherford was also their leading run-getter in the Super Smash and 12 months ago led the way in red ball cricket with 577 runs in 10 games in the Plunket Shield.
“I am delighted to be joining up with Worcestershire for the start of the county season. I’ve heard great things about the club from my Otago team-mate, Ben Cox,” he said.
“I always enjoy playing county cricket and hope I can contribute to a strong start in the Championship and 50-over competition.”
Callum Ferguson will then replace Rutherford as Worcestershire’s overseas player for the bulk of the summer.
He will link up in time for the Rapids home Royal London One-Day Cup match against Nottinghamshire on May 1.