Yorkshire have pulled off arguably English cricket's most high-profile overseas signing for the relaunched NatWest T20 Blast by agreeing terms with the destructive Australian opening batsman Aaron Finch.
Finch, who demolished England's attack on several occasions in the recent limited-overs series, was bought by IPL franchise, Sunrisers Hyderabad for nearly $667,000 in the auction on Wednesday and he will join Yorkshire shortly after the tournament finishes in May.
Yorkshire's coup owes much to the close relationship between Darren Lehmann, the Australian coach, and a county which regards him as one of the most popular and successful players in its history.
"I had a good chat with Darren Lehmann and he recommended that I joined the club," Finch said. "He can't speak highly enough of the place and the loyality of Yorkshire's supporters. This is one of the biggest cricket clubs in the world with a history and tradition second to none."
Finch, 27, could be in line to make his debut for the Yorkshire Vikings against reigning T20 Champions Northamptonshire Steelbacks in the opening match of the T20 Blast competition at Headingley on May 16.
The Melbourne Renegades captain is currently ranked as one of the top three T20 batsmen in the world and holds the world-record for the highest-ever T20 international innings: 156, including a world record 14 sixes, against England at the Ageas Bowl last August. He was also man of the series against England in last month's T20 series in Australia.
Finch comes back with a reputation which has grown hugely since he spent a season playing cricket for Clifton Alliance in the York Senior League in 2009, when he was pushing for a place in the Victoria side and helped earn his keep by pulling pints behind the bar.
Finch will also have an opportunity to play Championship cricket in the temporary absence of Yorkshire's New Zealand batsman, Kane Williamson.
"I'm looking forward to testing myself in red-ball cricket," Finch said. "It's important for my cricket development to play in English conditions and to help Yorkshire be a force in all forms of the game will be a good challenge for me."
Yorkshire, heavily in debt, will be desperate for Finch to help fill Headingley for a T20 tournament which the ECB badly needs to capture the attention after several false starts. They are wasting no time taking advantage of the excitement; tickets for their T20 matches go on sale on Thursday.
Martyn Moxon, Yorkshire's director of cricket, said: "Aaron is one of the finest attacking batsmen in the game today and it's a real pleasure to have secured his signature. There are not many players in the world that can fill stadiums, but we believe that Aaron is certainly one those box-office stars.
"This signing shows our intent this year. We want to be amongst the best teams in one-day cricket cricket and to have the services of one of the best batsmen in the world is a very exciting proposition for the club."