Durham swoop for Blackwell
LV County Champions Durham have signed Somerset all-rounder Ian Blackwell.
The former England international, who has played a solitary Test and 34 one-day internationals to date, has signed a three-year deal at the Riverside.
Blackwell should add considerable dynamism to the Durham squad, with his powerful middle-order hitting and left-arm spin.
Durham head coach Geoff Cook said: “With Durham looking to constantly improve our squad when it became clear Ian was available we grabbed the chance of signing him.
“I think it’s important to sign players of Ian’s quality and experience to continue the progress of the squad in all forms of the game.”
Blackwell’s arrival means Durham now have four spinners on their staff in 2009 - off-spinners Paul Wiseman and Gareth Breese and leg-spinner Scott Borthwick.
Blackwell, 30, made his county debut for his native Derbyshire in 1997, before moving to Taunton for the start of the 2000 season.
His ODI debut came versus Zimbabwe in the 2002 ICC Champions Trophy, before scoring 82 in his second match against India.
Blackwell was a surprise inclusion for the first Test of 2005/06 Test series against India at Nagpur. He bowled 19 wicketless but economical overs and scored four in his only innings.
Blackwell has 21 first-class centuries, with his highest score of 247 not out from 234 balls, coming against Derbyshire for Somerset in 2003. He also has more than 240 first-class wickets.
He enjoyed a successful 2008 with the bat for Somerset, scoring 1,115 first-class runs for the county, including LV County Championship centuries against Surrey at Whitgift School, Hampshire at the Rose Bowl and Yorkshire at Scarborough.
He also scored useful runs in the Friends Provident Trophy, but team-mate Omari Banks was often the leading spin-bowling all-rounder in Twenty20 cricket.
Durham chief executive David Harker added: “We were delighted to win the LV County Championship last season but it is important that we learn lessons.
“We must continue to add quality players, such as Ian, to the squad when they become available.”