The former West Indian fast bowler, Reon King, has been signed by Durham as cover for Shoaib Akhtar, who will be on international duty for the first few weeks of the 2004 season.
King, a Guyanese seamer, has played in 14 Tests and 48 ODIs for West Indies, but faded from view soon after a disappointing tour of England in 2000, when he and Franklyn Rose failed to live up to the high standards set by the peerless new-ball pairing of Curtly Ambrose and Courtney Walsh.
"Reon has performed at the highest level in world cricket," said Martyn Moxon, Durham's head coach. "His signing will provide experience and extra competition for places among the quick bowlers." Shoaib's Test commitments do not end until April 17, while Steve Harmison will be involved in England's tour of the Caribbean at least until April 14.
David Harker, Durham's chief executive, added: "Durham are blessed with a fine crop of young fast bowlers and they can only benefit from the experience of working with an international player like Reon, as they did last year with Javagal Srinath. "