Wellington have signed the Australian fast bowler Brett Lee for New Zealand's domestic Twenty20 tournament this summer, but he will miss half their matches due to his commitments for New South Wales. Lee has joined the England allrounder Luke Wright as Wellington's overseas players for the HRV Cup, which begins in early December.
He is expected to be available for five of Wellington's ten matches, jetting across the Tasman Sea regularly so New South Wales do not lose him for any games. After an injury-plagued year, Lee made his state comeback in Sydney on Sunday and is hoping to be part of Australia's limited-overs side to take on Sri Lanka starting on October 31.
"It's tremendous to have secured the services of Brett and his record speaks for itself," Gavin Larsen, the CEO of Cricket Wellington, said. There will be at least one familiar face for Lee in the change-rooms - his former New South Wales fast-bowling colleague and now Wellington coach Anthony Stuart.
"Not only will Brett run in hard and provide a cutting edge to our attack, he will also offer us extra batting power in the middle to lower order and he is a top fielder," Stuart said. Lee is expected to make his debut for Wellington in their home match against Auckland on December 14.
There will be several big names from around the world in the HRV Cup this summer, after Northern Districts signed Herschelle Gibbs, Brad Hodge and David Warner. There were also reports that Canterbury were chasing the Australian fast bowler Shaun Tait, although he will now be out of action until at least early December with an elbow injury.