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Worcestershire look to Guptill and Ferguson to end barren run

Martin Guptill leans into a drive Getty Images

Worcestershire have signed Martin Guptill and Callum Ferguson as overseas players for the Blast T20 competition.

Worcestershire, who have never reached Finals Day and finished eighth in the North Group in 2017, have already signed Australian Travis Head as their primary overseas player in the 2018 season. The addition of Guptill, who will be available to play in all formats from June 20 to July 29 (Head is expected to be absent on international duty) and Ferguson, who will take over in the Blast once Guptill departs, provides further batting strength to a team that will also include the England Lion Joe Clarke and six-hit specialist Ross Whiteley.

Add the by no means unrealistic prospect that Moeen Ali might not hold his place in the England side, and so be available for at least some of the Blast season, and Worcestershire's top order could be among the most dangerous in the competition

Guptill, the New Zealand opening batsman, is currently No. 5 in the ICC's T20 rankings and has been (in 2012) as high as No. 2. He has made two international T20 centuries and, in 2015, plundered an unbeaten 237 against West Indies in an ODI. It is the second highest ODI score of all time.

A vastly experienced international player - he has played 47 Tests, 159 ODIs and 75 T20Is - he has also had previous spells in county cricket with Derbyshire and Lancashire. He is expected to be available for eight Blast games before departing for the Caribbean Premier League.

While less experienced at international level, Ferguson is a veteran of Australian domestic cricket. If the T20 record - he averages 22.34 and has a strike-rate of 119.43 - looks modest, it should be remembered he bats in the middle-order.

"Martin is a world class player," Worcestershire's new head coach, Kevin Sharp, said. "With Martin and Travis and the rest of our batting line-up, it will be quite a scary prospect for some opposition sides to think what might happen.

"It is exciting for us to sign someone of his quality and I'm sure he is someone all the Rapids supporters will look forward to watching. In white ball, he is a destructive batsman - and his record proves that - and for him to be available for the first eight T20 games is excellent. But he also has a good record in red ball cricket and will also be able to play the two Championship matches in June when Travis is on international duty."