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Santner on board as Derbyshire target Blast

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Derbyshire have signed Mitchell Santner, the New Zealand spinner, as one of their overseas players for 2018. Santner will be available for the whole of the Vitality Blast and the second half of Derbyshire’s Championship campaign.

Santner is currently ranked the No. 1 bowler in T20 internationals and has appeared in the Blast over the last couple of seasons for Worcestershire. Last year, Derbyshire reached the quarter-finals for the first time in over a decade, under the stewardship of T20 coach John Wright, and Santner’s signing suggests a continued focus on improving their short-form game.

After making his debut on the tour of England in 2015, Santner has become New Zealand’s first-choice spinner in all three formats. He has taken more than 100 international wickets and is also a useful batsman, with two first-class centuries to his name.

“We’re delighted to secure Mitchell for the second half of the 2018 season, including for the entire Vitality Blast competition,” Derbyshire’s cricket advisor, Kim Barnett, said. “He has been producing some of the best cricket of his career across all forms for New Zealand over the last few months, and is now recognised as the world’s number one T20 bowler.

“Mitchell is also an exceptional fielder and provides a quality batting option down the order. We look forward to welcoming him to Derbyshire.”

Derbyshire have allowed several young players to leave over the winter, in particular clearing out their pace-bowling stocks, as Barnett looks to reinvigorate the club.

Last season, they prioritised legspin, signing Imran Tahir for the Blast and Jeevan Mendis, but the promise of Matt Critchley, a homegrown option who was this week called up to the England Lions, has encouraged them to go with a more orthodox spinner in the form of Santner as one of their two overseas T20 signings.

“I’m looking forward to joining Derbyshire,” Santner said. “It’s an ambitious club who want to continue to progress and I hope I can play my part.”

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