Lancashire have signed New Zealand pair Daryl Mitchell and Colin de Grandhomme on contracts that will cover the the Vitality T20 Blast and the start of the LV= Insurance County Championship.
In a sign of the changing landscape for overseas players in the county game, Mitchell and de Grandhomme will join the squad alongside Dane Vilas, the club's long-serving South African batter, who stood down last week as club captain but will continue to play for Lancashire this season.
With only two overseas players permitted in the XI, Mark Chilton, Lancashire's director of cricket performance, said having the trio available would "provide us with plenty of options for different matches and scenarios".
De Grandhomme, who has previously represented Hampshire, Surrey and Birmingham Bears, will link up with the club for the start of the summer, potentially playing in four Championship matches before the arrival of Mitchell ahead of the Somerset game on May 11. Both allrounders will be involved in the Blast, with Mitchell available for Championship fixtures against Hampshire, Surrey and Essex and de Grandhomme also providing cover during June and July.
"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," 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.
"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."
Mitchell, who played for Middlesex in 2021 and was Blackpool CC's professional in 2016, was New Zealand's Player of the Series during last summer's tour of England, when he scored 538 runs at 107.60.
"I am delighted to be joining Lancashire this English summer," he said. "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.
"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 team-mates Steven Croft and Richard Gleeson having played there for a summer in 2016."
De Grandhomme retired from international cricket last year and has a wealth of experience in T20 competitions around the world, playing in the BBL, IPL and CPL, as well as the Hundred in England.
De Grandhomme added: "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.
"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."