County news April 20, 2010

Durham secure Albie Morkel and Ross Taylor

Cricinfo staff

Durham have signed South African allrounder Albie Morkel and Ross Taylor, the New Zealand batsman, for this season's Twenty20 Cup.

Morkel is currently at the IPL with Chennai Super Kings and helped Durham reach the semi-finals of the Twenty20 Cup in 2008. His international form has declined of late, having made just 77 runs in eight matches over the last year and Durham expect him to be free of South Africa commitments for the duration of the tournament.

"I was eager to take up the opportunity to come back to Riverside after my first stint there in 2008," said Morkel. "It's a great club to be a part of, there is a lot of ambition and team spirit in the dressing room and I'm looking forward to joining back up with the team."

Taylor, meanwhile, represents a major boon for the county champions. He has recently scored the fastest century in New Zealand Test history, reaching the landmark off 81 balls on his way to 138 against Australia at Hamilton and has a reputation as one of the cleanest strikers in the game.

Taylor said he is looking forward to entertaining the Durham fans. "I'm really pleased to be part of Durham's Twenty20 campaign, after their recent success in the Championship I want to be a major contributor in the team that replicates that in Twenty20 cricket.

"I'm excited about coming over and playing in front of a passionate North East crowd. The feedback I've had about the club and its supporters has been extremely positive and I can't wait to join up with the Men in Black and start getting some results on the field."

It signals Durham's commitment to push for more honours after disappointing in limited-overs cricket last season. David Harker, Durham's chief executive, is thrilled at the prospect of seeing Morkel and Taylor at Chester-le-Street.

"Ross has been at the top of our wish list for some time and to finally have him joining us is fantastic. Albie is a proven performer, especially in this format, and we're pleased to be welcoming him back to the North East. To be able to bring two players of this standard into the team adds more depth into our already talented squad."