DURHAM have delivered a signal of intent ahead of their return to the top-flight of the County Championship next season by announcing the signing of Australia seamer Scott Boland.

Boland, who is an established member of the Australian Test side, will join Durham ahead of the start of next summer’s county programme and remain with the county until the end of July.

That means he will be available for the first half of the County Championship season as well as T20 matches in the Vitality Blast.

“I’m very excited to be joining Durham for the upcoming season,” said Boland, who enjoyed a Test debut to remember during the 2021-22 Ashes series when he ripped through the England order in just 21 balls, posting figures of 6-7.

“After achieving promotion in 2023 I’m keen to add my skills to an already strong squad and help Durham contend for the Championship in Division One.

“I’m eager to join a strong bowling group and work alongside some new faces. I feel the time is right for me to play county cricket, I’ve always wanted to and am grateful for Durham for giving me the opportunity.”

Since skittling England on his Test debut, Boland has gone on to make a further nine Test appearances for Australia, claiming 35 wickets. The 34-year-old took five wickets in last summer’s World Test Championship Final against India at the Kia Oval, helping Australia to a 209-run win.

A proven seamer in the first-class arena with Victoria, Boland has amassed 349 first-class wickets, with a best of 7-31 that powered Victoria to a Sheffield Shield win over Western Australia in 2015.

Part of the Melbourne Stars team in the Big Bash League, Boland will also feature in Durham’s 2024 Vitality Blast campaign. With 75 T20 wickets to his name, he has enjoyed short-form success with Hobart Hurricanes and Melbourne Stars, and played for Australia in both white-ball formats. He has also appeared in the IPL with Rising Pune Supergiants.

“Scott is a huge signing for us as we look to challenge in Division One next season,” said Durham director of cricket Marcus North. “A proven International quick bowler was something we identified to further strengthen our fast-bowling group.

“Scott is someone who we have been talking to for some time and to have secured the signature of one of the best international bowlers outside of the T20 World Cup shows Durham Cricket’s intent moving into 2024."