Derbyshire have moved swiftly to complete the signing of prolific former Aussie international batsman Marcus North as their second overseas player for the 2014 season. North was recently crowned Player of the Season in the Australian Sheffield Shield after topping the run-scoring charts with 884, at an average of 68, including three centuries.
He then announced his retirement from first-class cricket down under, bringing to an end a sparkling 17 year career with Western Australia.
North will add international experience to the batting line-up in all formats of the game during Shivnarine Chanderpaul’s periods of unavailability, with a West Indies Test series versus New Zealand scheduled for June and versus Bangladesh in September. The stylish Australian batsman played 21 Tests for the Baggy Greens scoring 1,171 runs and compiling five centuries.
He also captained Perth Scorchers in the Australian Big Bash League before joining the Sydney Sixers for the 2013/2014 competition. The 34-year-old is making a fond return to the County Ground after enjoying a sparkling short spell with the Club in 2006 during which he wowed members with 465 stylish runs, in three first-class matches, with two centuries and an average of 93. Elite Performance Director Graeme Welch said: “To have a player of Marcus’s experience and calibre joining us is massive for the squad. “The beauty is that he can take over as our overseas player in one-day and four day cricket when Shiv is likely to be playing international cricket during the all-important run-in to the end of the season. We think he’s a very shrewd signing in that respect.
“I captained Marcus when he played for us in 2006 and the class he showed with his batting was unbelievable.
“He also really bought into the team environment and – even though he was only with us for a few weeks – he was passionate about playing for Derbyshire.
“I know he’ll do that again, only now he’s returning with international cricket behind him and bags of county experience having played for the likes of Lancashire, Hampshire and Durham.
“You’ve only got to look at the way he’s currently playing in Australia to know what we’re signing. He’s a top-class cricketer.”
North added: “I am delighted to be coming back to Derbyshire. I really enjoyed my stint there a few years back under Graeme Welch, so I am excited to be working with him again.
“I’ve enjoyed arguably one of my best seasons in Australia, so the opportunity to play this specific role for Derbyshire was very exciting and has come at the perfect time in my career.
“They obviously have a talented group of players so hopefully I can assist in getting the boys back up to Division 1 quick smart. I can’t wait to get over there and start preparing for the season ahead.”