Derbyshire have signed former Lancashire wicketkeeper Gareth Cross following the news that Tom Poynton, who last month was seriously injured in a car crash that claimed the life of his father Keith, has been ruled out for the rest of the campaign.
Investigations by medical specialists have revealed that Poynton's lower-limb injuries, sustained in the accident, are worse than originally thought and will require a long period of rehabilitation.
Derbyshire elite performance director Graeme Welch said: “We are all bitterly disappointed for Tom. He’ll get the best possible support from our medical team during his rehab and will remain very much a part of the group.
“It’s a setback for the lad, but he’s a resilient character and a strong professional. He’ll throw himself into rehab and come back fitter, stronger and more determined than before.”
With Richard Johnson unavailable as he continues to recover from sports performance anxiety issues, Derbyshire have snapped up Cross until the end of the season.
The 29-year-old, a member of Lancashire's LV= County Championship title-winning side in 2011, was released by the Red Rose at the end of the last campaign and has been playing for Derbyshire's second XI on a non-contract basis.
Welch said: “Richard Johnson is a talented cricketer who takes a really hard working and professional approach to his cricket.
“However, cricket has to take a backseat for him now while he’s given time and privacy to recover with full support and understanding from the club.
"The pressures faced by cricketers who are trying to be successful in a tough environment are well documented.
"All of the welfare programmes are in place, through the club, the PCA and the ECB, to support Richard at this time.
“Gareth, meanwhile, is an experienced wicketkeeper-batsman and we are delighted to have him at the club.
“It’s testament to the relationships and contacts within our elite coaching structure that we managed to secure such a top signing when we needed it.
“He’s a very good batsman who can score quickly. He’s also very tidy with the gloves and his attitude during the trial period with our second team has been top draw.”
Cross added: “This opportunity has come up and I have really enjoyed being around the lads. I’m really excited about getting started here at Derbyshire.
“I spoke to my former Lancashire team-mate Stephen Moore before I signed and he said it’s a really exciting time at the club.
“I’m happy to be here, now it’s up to me to play well and to help the side win cricket matches in all three competitions.”
Dan Hodgson, a recent loan signing from Yorkshire, has returned to Headingley following just one appearance.