Aussie Joe Burns to fill in for skipper Ramnaresh Sarwan at Leicestershire CCC
Queensland top-order batsman Joe Burns is the man Leicestershire have turned to as a replacement for Ramnaresh Sarwan when the skipper is on West Indies duty this summer.
The 23-year-old Burns is already proving an accomplished player in all formats of the game.
He averages 41 in first-class cricket and, only last month, showed his one-day ability with a century as Australia A defeated England Lions.
Burns, who holds a British passport, also starred for Brisbane Heat as they won Australia's Big Bash T20 tournament, smashing 43 to help his side defeat Perth in the final.
His runs in that tournament came with an impressive strike-rate of 129 per 100 balls.
Sarwan will play the first five County Championship games, but is then expected to be involved with West Indies as they play in the Champions Trophy.
A home one-day series is next, with the launch of the inaugural Caribbean Premier League following in late July.
Sarwan is now likely to be available for the final quartet of four-day matches, leaving Burns to fill in from May 15 to August 30, playing seven Championship matches, 11 YB40 games – and the Foxes' entire FL T20 campaign.
"I am very excited to get the opportunity to join Leicestershire for the 2013 season," said Burns.
"In my discussions with the staff, I feel this is a fantastic opportunity for me to continue to develop my cricket, and to perform at the highest level.
"I've heard great things about the club's set-up and players, and I am very motivated with the ambition of promotion in the County Championship.
"I'm looking forward to joining up with the team in May and contributing to a successful and enjoyable season."
County head coach Phil Whitticase said: "Joe's availability, before departing for the 2013 Champions League with Brisbane Heat at the end of August, dovetails perfectly with Ronnie Sarwan, and we expect both players to make a big impact during the season."
Whitticase said the County new boy had already demonstrated an eye for detail.
"He is athletic with good energy, and is bright and mature – Joe has already got 'Duke' red balls lined up to practice with before he comes over here," said Whitticase.
"He has done his homework on Leicestershire and is looking forward to the challenge. He is hungry to come to us and be successful."
County chief executive Mike Siddall is hoping that Burns, who is a winner of the coveted Bradman Young Cricketer of the Year award in his home country, can follow in the footsteps of a couple of his compatriots.
"We are hoping he will have a similar impact at Grace Road as previous Australian overseas players, Brad Hodge and Michael Bevan," said Siddall.
"Joe is on the fringes of the Australian team and will be keen to impress during an Ashes year in England."
County have also added former Gloucestershire seamer Anthony Ireland to their squad.
The 28-year-old, who has played 26 one-day internationals for Zimbabwe, will add to the competition for places in the Leicestershire attack.
Ireland has played 41 first-class matches, with 122 wickets to his name at a respectable average of 30 apiece.