Derbyshire snap up Tahir for 2017

Imran Tahir played for Nottinghamshire in 2015 and 2016 Getty Images

Imran Tahir will equal Marcus North's record of playing for six different counties after signing for Derbyshire. Tahir, the South Africa legspinner, is expected to be available from June onwards, depending on his international commitments.

Derbyshire have begun overhauling their squad after a disappointing season, with chairman Chris Grant signalling a move to making more experienced signings. Ireland wicketkeeper-batsman Gary Wilson has joined from Surrey and Luis Reece accepted a contract after being released by Lancashire but the arrival of Tahir will add extra quality.

Tahir, 37, is ranked the No. 1 T20 bowler and No. 3 in ODIs, according to the ICC player ratings. Last season, he played seven Championship matches for Nottinghamshire, taking 25 wickets at 37.20, although he could not prevent their relegation to Division Two.

"I love playing cricket in England and I'm looking forward to playing a senior role at Derbyshire," Tahir said. "I've learned a lot over the years and if I can pass my knowledge on to youngsters and help win matches, then it's a great option for me."

Tahir will be in England from May, with South Africa playing a bilateral series ahead of the Champions Trophy, but will then link up with Derbyshire. South Africa are scheduled to play a four-Test series afterwards but Tahir is unlikely to be involved.

Derbyshire recently appointed a new director of cricket, Kim Barnett, after finishing bottom of Division Two and failing to progress in the two limited-overs competitions. They have also taken the rare step of bringing in a specialist T20 coach, another former player, New Zealand's John Wright.

Barnett said that alongside his proven ability, Tahir would help the development of Derbyshire's young legspinner Matt Critchley.

"We are keen to strengthen our squad with experienced match winners who will also help our talented youngsters," Barnett said. "With his vast international and domestic experience here in England, Imran fits the bill perfectly.

"He is one of the best legspinners in the world and we're very excited to have him on board. Not only will Imran bring an added dimension to our bowling line up, his influence on the team and players, such as Matt Critchley, will be immense."

Former Australia batsman North became the first overseas player to represent six different counties when he joined Glamorgan in 2012. From next summer, Tahir will be able to count Derbyshire alongside Nottinghamshire, Hampshire, Warwickshire, Yorkshire and Middlesex.