Lancashire have signed New Zealand wicketkeeper BJ Watling as an overseas player for the first nine Championship games of next season.

Watling, 34, has been a prolific run-scorer in Test cricket in recent years. He compiled a maiden double-hundred against England last month, and has scored more runs as designated wicketkeeper than anyone else this decade.

His time at Old Trafford will be Watling's second stint in county cricket after a two-game spell at Durham last year. He was signed for the side's promotion run-in, though by the time he arrived any hopes of going up had been dashed by other results.

Paul Allott, Lancashire's director of cricket, said: "To have someone of BJ's calibre on board for the first nine County Championship games of the season is fantastic and we're looking forward to welcoming him to Emirates Old Trafford.

"We identified a top-order batsman as a priority in the overseas player market and BJ fits the bill perfectly. His first-class and Test record is exceptional and he adds valuable experience to the batting line-up."

Watling said: "I am delighted to have signed for Lancashire. I enjoyed my first taste of English domestic cricket last year with Durham and I'm looking forward to getting started at Emirates Old Trafford in the New Year.

"It's important to start quickly and I hope I can contribute towards plenty of wins in the first nine games to help the Red Rose challenge towards the top of Division One."