DURHAM have signed South Africa Test batsman Keegan Petersen for the first seven matches of the County Championship season.

Petersen will join up with the Durham squad in April ahead of the start of the new campaign, before leaving to link up with South Africa after his county side’s four-day game with Worcestershire in mid-June.

“It’s exciting to join a county like Durham, and I look forward to linking up with the squad and having a successful contribution during my time in the North-East,” said Petersen.

A right-handed batsman, the 28-year-old recently made his Test debut against West Indies and has gone onto play a further four games for his national side.

A run of impressive performances against India on home soil in January saw him named Player of the Series and ICC Player of the Month, with his strong batting displays helping to steer South Africa to a Test series win over Virat Kohli’s men.

Petersen, who was the leading scorer in the series with 276 runs, helped South Africa to a 2-1 series success.

A proven run scorer in domestic first-class cricket, Petersen has amassed over 6,000 runs, with 16 centuries and 32 fifties, including a highest score of 225 not out.

He scored 111 for South Africa A against England in 2019, facing a bowling attack that included his new Durham team-mate Ben Stokes as well as James Anderson and Chris Woakes.

“We’re very pleased to have secured the quality of Keegan Petersen for the first block of County cricket in 2022,” said Durham director of cricket Marcus North. “Keegan will add further strength to the top our batting line up and joins the club on the back of a successful period with South Africa.

“He is in a great place with his cricket having, last year, broke into the South African Test side - we look forward to welcoming Keegan to Durham in April.”