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Middlesex win race for McCullum

Brendon McCullum came flying out of the blocks Getty Images

Brendon McCullum will play for Middlesex for part of next summer's NatWest T20 Blast and the Royal London One-Day Cup. McCullum, who this week announced his retirement from international cricket, will be available to play for Middlesex from the moment his commitments at the Indian Premier League finish through to June 25.

During this period Middlesex CCC are scheduled to play seven NatWest T20 Blast and four Royal London One-Day Cup matches. Middlesex are also hopeful that McCullum will be able to return to the UK if they qualify for the knockout stages of either of these tournaments.

McCullum's decision to join Middlesex represents a blow for Warwickshire who had hoped to follow-up his brief but successful stay in 2015 - including a record 158 in 64 balls against Derbyshire at Edgbaston.

Middlesex are delighted by the signing, even for only half of the T20 season, of a player they hailed as "one of the most respected and dynamic cricketers in the modern game."

Angus Fraser, Middlesex's managing director of cricket, said: "Signing a player of Brendon's undoubted quality is a huge coup for the club. He is one of the most respected, capable and dangerous cricketers in world cricket and will create a great deal of excitement around the club. When he walks out to bat everybody stops what they are doing to watch."

"Brendon's involvement highlights Middlesex's commitment to white ball cricket and we are all looking forward to working with him both on and off the field. His presence will ensure that Thursday evenings at Lord's will be 'must see' events."

McCullum became one of the most popular opposition players in England for many years last summer when his aggressive batting and captaincy was at the heart of arguably the most crowd-pleasing New Zealand side ever seen in the country.

Middlesex were somewhat overshadowed by their neighbours across the river, Surrey, as the NatWest Blast attracted record crowds in 2015 and they have failed to make an impact in the competition despite the presence in their ranks for much of the season of England's one-day captain Eoin Morgan.

But London has still led the growth of T20 cricket in England and they will hope that McCullum will help provide the impetus they need. They have also signed James Fuller from Gloucestershire to stiffen their bowling ranks.