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Sussex turn to Bruce after van Zyl injury

Tom Bruce aims to pull the ball away AFP

Sussex have signed New Zealand international batsman Tom Bruce for the duration of their 2018 Vitality T20 Blast campaign.

Bruce, a T20 specialist with 14 caps, will be available for all 14 of the team's matches in the South Group, as well as the knockout stages should the Sharks progress.

Sussex supporters will have a sneak preview of Bruce in a Sussex shirt on Friday when he forms part of the men's side that takes on a touring Aboriginal XI at Hove.

Sussex's move for Bruce has come because of a knee injury for their South African batsman, Stiaan van Zyl, which is expected to rule him out of much of the tournament.

Sussex head coach Jason Gillespie said: "The injury to Stiaan forced us to reassess our squad for the Vitality Blast and we've decided that we need to bring in a quality overseas batsman for the duration of the tournament.

"Tom has experience on the biggest stage with New Zealand and is exactly the type of dynamic middle order strokemaker we're looking for.

"To have him available for the entirety of the competition will offer us continuity, which is very important in tournament cricket."

The extent of Van Zyl's absence is not yet known but Sussex have suggested that he needs "an extended period of rest and rehabilitation".

Bruce's most recent international appearance came during the tri-series between New Zealand, Australia and England earlier this year.

He burst onto the New Zealand domestic T20 scene in the 2015-16 season when he finished that year's competition as his side's second leading run-scorer behind the Sri Lanka batsman Mahela Jayawardene.

In his 41 career T20s so far, he has scored 958 runs at an average of 28.17. His career strike rate of 150.39 puts him in 26th place on the all-time list.

Sussex begin their Vitality Blast campaign on July 4 against Essex at Chelmsford.