Will Smith: Durham re-sign former county captain from Hampshire

Hampshire acting captain Will Smith
Will Smith deputised as Hampshire's four-day captain for much of the 2016 season

Former Durham captain Will Smith is to return to the county from Hampshire, four years after being released to move to Southampton.

Smith, 34, whose wife is from Tyneside, has told BBC Newcastle it is a "dream move" to return to the North East.

His return will stem the side of players leaving Chester-le-Street.

England opener Keaton Jennings is to join Lancashire, who are understood to be the destination also for departing ex-England seamer Graham Onions.

Paul Coughlin has signed for Nottinghamshire, on top of Mark Stoneman and Scott Borthwick leaving for Surrey a year ago.

Luton-born, Durham University-educated Smith won the County Championship with Nottinghamshire before joining Durham in 2007.

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He won another three titles with Durham, in 2008, 2009, when he captained the team through an unbeaten campaign, and again in 2013, when he left for Hampshire.

Smith has been restricted to mainly Second XI cricket this season, making just one first-team appearance against South Africa at Southampton in June.

But he has scored 8,986 first-class runs - as well as more than 3,500 in one-day and T20 cricket - and his experience could prove crucial as Durham, still feeling the repercussion of last season's financial problems, attempt to rebuild.

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