London: Australia paceman Mitchell Johnson is to play for Durham this season in English cricket's domestic Twenty20 competition, the northeast county announced Monday. The 30-year-old left-arm fast bowler has joined South Africa batsman Herschelle Gibbs as one of two of Durham's overseas players for the Friends Life t20, which takes place in June and July.
Western Australia quick Johnson said talking to Durham's Paul Collingwood when the former England allrounder played club cricket in Perth had got him interested in playing for Durham. "I've heard brilliant things about Durham from Paul Collingwood when he played over in Perth and I'm really excited about joining up with the squad," Johnson told Durham's official website.
Johnson, a veteran of 47 Tests, 107 one-day internationals and 28 Twenty20s for Australia, is also a hard-hitting lower order batsman. He added: "Delivering match-winning contributions is important to me and that's not just with a focus on my bowling - all-round performances in T20 are really important and I want to leave at the end of July having secured our place at Finals Day."
Durham chief executive David Harker said: "Mitchell is an excellent addition to our squad and he will certainly be a force to be reckoned with. One of our ambitions for 2012 is to get to T20 Finals Day and we have made the investment to bring in players that we feel will enhance our already talented squad to help us achieve that. It'll be great for us to welcome Mitchell to the set-up and I'm sure our supporters will give him, and Herschelle, a very warm north-east welcome."
On his day, Johnson, who had toe surgery in December, can be highly effective but he arguably remains best-known in Britain for his erratic performances during England's victorious Ashes tour of Australia in 2010/11 and he has lately fallen down the pecking order of Aussie quicks. Australia are due to tour England for a five-match one-day international series in June and July.