Gloucestershire bring back Williamson
Kane Williamson, the New Zealand batsman, will return to Gloucestershire for the first half of the season. Williamson will arrive in Bristol for Gloucestershire's first home County Championship match on April 26 against Glamorgan.
Williamson played in New Zealand's Test series defeat to South Africa in March, scoring a century to save the third Test in Wellington, and will take an enforced break before returning to Nevil Road.
"He proved a very good fit in our dressing room last season," Gloucestershire director of cricket, John Bracewell, said. "Since then he has developed in all three formats of the game for New Zealand and that reflects great credit on him, as well as showing the benefit of his time with us."
Williamson, 21, scored 831 first-class runs at 36.13 for Gloucestershire last season before returning to New Zealand and making his highest first-class score of 284 not out for Northern Districts against Wellington. He was a regular in the New Zealand side in their tours to Zimbabwe and Australia and the home series against Zimbabwe and South Africa.
Gloucestershire also hope to gain the services of another New Zealand cricketer in a unique deal with New Zealand Cricket. Once Williamson departs for his country's tour of the West Indies in July another centrally-contracted player, not involved in the West Indies tour, will be sent to Gloucestershire.
A spokesman for New Zealand Cricket said: "We are pleased to have the opportunity to work with Gloucestershire to develop our next generation of international cricketers. This partnership provides New Zealanders with the opportunity to play in and experience the pressures of a world class competition on a day to day basis."
Gloucestershire also signed allrounder Paul Muchall from Durham. Muchall was on trial in Bristol during the club's pre-season matches and, having impressed, has signed a two-year contract.
Muchall, the 25-year-old brother of Durham's Gordon Muchall, spent time both at MCC Young Cricketers and in Durham's 2nd XI with Will Gidman, who signed for Gloucestershire for the 2011 season.
"John Bracewell was very specific in what he wanted from me and obviously I have impressed in the right ways," Muchall said. "I like to hit the pitch hard and nip the ball around off the seam, with the occasional bouncer here and there when needed. I would hope to bat around six, seven or eight in the order, but it looks a strong batting line-up and I'll happily slot in where required."
Alex Winter is an editorial assistant at ESPNcricinfo