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Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Paul Collingwood joins Perth Stormers in new T20 league

All-rounder Paul Collingwood has become the first English player signed by Australia's expanded Twenty20 Big Bash League after joining Perth Scorchers.

The Durham man, 35, led England to the World Twenty20 title in 2010.

He retired from Tests after England's Ashes success in January, remaining available for limited-overs games, but was dropped during the World Cup and has not played for England since March.

He also recently lost the England Twenty20 captaincy to Stuart Broad.

Collingwood, a right-handed batsman, right-arm medium pace bowler and an outstanding fielder, is England's most-capped player in one-day internationals (197) and Twenty20 internationals (35).

He had knee surgery after returning from the World Cup, but was overlooked for the current one-day series against Sri Lanka.

"Paul is a brilliant leader of men who helped mould his country's T20 side into an exciting and ruthless combination, which culminated in their triumph in the final of last year's World T20," said Stormers coach Mickey Arthur, who has also coached South Africa.

"Being the first skipper to lead England to victory at an ICC men's event was a massive feather in his cap. He is a gutsy and determined batsman, a proven wicket-taker and is first class in the field."

The Big Bash League, which will begin in the 2011/12 Australian summer, will be contested by eight city-based franchises - including two each from Melbourne and Sydney.

It succeeds Australia's previous Twenty20 Big Bash which ran from 2005, featured the traditional six state teams - New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria and Western Australia - with occasional participation from overseas players, such as Hampshire's Michael Lumb and Lancashire's Sajid Mahmood in 2010/11.

However, the new franchises are able to sign players from any state, and field two international players per team.

Along with Collingwood, the other foreign players signed up so far include big-hitting West Indian opener Chris Gayle (Sydney Thunder) and former Pakistan all-rounder Rana Naved-ul-Hasan (Hobart Hurricanes), while veteran South African batsman Herschelle Gibbs will be a team-mate of Collingwood's at Perth.

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