Worcestershire: Sri Lanka's Thilan Samaraweera moves to New Road
Worcestershire have signed Sri Lanka Test batsman Thilan Samaraweera as their overseas player for 2013.
The 36-year-old veteran will take over the role lined up for Australian opener Phil Hughes, who was recalled to the national team over the winter.
Hughes is now expected to be named in the Aussies' squad for this summer's Ashes series, forcing Worcestershire to look elsewhere.
"Thilan's Test average of 48.76 speaks volumes," said coach Steve Rhodes.
Samaraweera's Sri Lankan stats
- Samaraweera played the first of his 81 Tests for Sri Lanka in 2001 and has now hit 5,462 runs at an average of 48.76.
- He has also made 862 runs in 53 one-day internationals for his country at 27.80 and 537 runs at 29.83 in 21 Twenty20 appearances.
"We've been searching for an overseas batsman once we realised that Phil Hughes was not going to be available.
"It's wonderful to have him available for the whole season. It gives us real stability," Rhodes told BBC Hereford & Worcester.
"Thilan's wealth of experience is a big boost for the squad in general, but particularly our talented young batsmen who will benefit from his wily words of wisdom."
Samaraweera has twice toured England with his national team, in 2006 and 2011, but has never previously played any form of county cricket.
"Playing county cricket has been one of my long-term career ambitions," he said. "I am extremely grateful to Steve Rhodes and Worcestershire for giving me the opportunity to fulfil this ambition.
"And I look forward to repaying this faith by making significant contributions on the field this season.
"I can't wait to arrive in April and get started with the boys and pull on the Worcestershire shirt for the first time."