Ian Blackwell has joined Warwickshire on loan from Durham until the end of the season.
Blackwell, the 34-year-old former England allrounder, who has played one Test and 34 ODIs, has fallen out of favour at Chester-le-Street but will join Warwickshire in order to deputise for their overseas player, offspinner Jeetan Patel, who has been recalled to the New Zealand Test squad for their tour of India. Blackwell will join Warwickshire ahead of this Sunday's CB40 game against the Unicorns at Wormsley.
While left-arm spinner Blackwell is somewhat overweight in comparison to most modern cricketers and has a poor throwing arm, he remains a fine cricketer. He has scored over 11,000 first-class runs at an average a fraction under 40 and claimed career-best bowling figures - 7 for 52 - in his last first-class game, against Australia A at the start of August.
Blackwell will provide Warwickshire's main spin bowling option for the next few weeks. The club's first choice left-arm spinner, Chris Metters, is unavailable through injury and young allrounder Paul Best is deemed too inexperienced for the burden. Warwickshire, with four games to go, lead the County Championship by 11 points with a game in hand on second-placed Sussex.
Warwickshire expect Patel back in time for their final Championship match - against third-placed Nottinghamshire, who are 21 points behind Warwickshire having played the same amount of games - but retain slim hope that he may be back in time for the penultimate game, against Worcestershire at New Road.
Ashley Giles, director of cricket at Warwickshire, said: "Ian is a very experienced cricketer, with almost 400 first-class wickets and international honours. With Jeetan Patel away for the next four weeks after winning a call-up to New Zealand's tour of India, Ian will play an important role as the senior spinner in the team.
"He joins us after taking seven wickets against Australia A two weeks ago, and with key matches coming up in the County Championship and CB40, we're very pleased to secure his services. I would like to thank Geoff Cook and Durham for allowing us to bring Ian to Warwickshire on loan."
Ian Blackwell said: "I'm pleased to have the opportunity to go on loan to Warwickshire and play some first team cricket. It's been frustrating not being selected at Durham and I'm keen to get out there and prove not only my fitness, but also that I can still make match-winning contributions. I want to be back playing for Durham and this is a means of achieving that."
Durham head coach Geoff Cook added: "This is a great opportunity for Ian to play first-class cricket and get some time in the middle against strong opposition. Our current first XI have built some real momentum in four day cricket and as a result opportunities for Ian to break back into the squad, due to the conditions and surfaces that we have been faced with, have been limited.
"We took him to Notts in order to try and give him a game if the conditions were right, however as that wasn't the case it is important for him to get some cricket under his belt and going on loan to Warwickshire allows him to do that."