North signs Derbyshire deal
Former Australia Test batsman Marcus North has signed for Derbyshire just one day after ending his first-class career Down Under.
The 34-year-old will cover for Shivnarine Chanderpaul during June and September, when the Guyanese left-hander is required for West Indies Test duty against New Zealand and Bangladesh.
North finished the 2013/14 campaign as the leading run-scorer in the Sheffield Shield, making 888 at an average of 68 for Western Australia to be named player of the year, but had a tragic time off the field as his brother died in a car accident in November. He announced in a press conference on Thursday that it was his last season with the team.
Left-hander North played 21 Tests, two one-day internationals and one Twenty20 for Australia, scoring five Test centuries including 117 on his debut against South Africa in Johannesburg in February 2009.
North had a short spell with Derbyshire in 2006, making 465 at an average of 93 during a brief but memorable three-match stint.
He hopes to help the team accomplish a Division Two promotion campaign in the County Championship, and said: "I've enjoyed arguably one of my best seasons in Australia, so the opportunity to play this specific role for Derbyshire was very exciting and has come at the perfect time in my career.
"They obviously have a talented group of players so hopefully I can assist in getting the boys back up to Division One quick smart."
Derbyshire's elite performance director Graeme Welch said of the former Lancashire, Glamorgan, Durham, Gloucestershire and Hampshire man: "To have a player of Marcus's experience and calibre joining us is massive for the squad.
"I captained Marcus when he played for us in 2006 and the class he showed with his batting was unbelievable."