Lancashire have announced the signing of Usman Khawaja as a County Championship overseas player in a move that will help to bolster their fragile top-order batting.
The 27-year-old, who has previously enjoyed a stint as Derbyshire's overseas pro, joins straight away, and is expected to stay for the rest of the season.
His 2013/14 season in Australia was excellent, as he scored plenty of runs for Queensland. most notably a fluent 182* in a fourth innings chase against South Australia.
However, he has been overlooked by the national team since being dropped during the 2013 Ashes tour, and his non-selection in the 'A' side will leave him doubting his international future.
Lancashire desperately need some top order runs. With only one win in seven Championship matches, they are languishing in the Division 1 relegation zone, mainly due to struggling batting performances.
Their season has been very busy, although their loss of Championship form has been partially masked by excellent 20-over results and the re-signing of all-rounder Andrew Flintoff.
Earlier this week Mike Watkinson, the cricket director, admitted the initial plans had not worked. "Paul Horton and Ashwell Prince have been around and established for a while," he wrote in his Manchester Evening News column.
"The other top order batsmen, we thought it was their time. But it hasn't quite been their time. We have had faith in a group of five or six players and we hoped three of them would establish themselves strongly and have a big impact on the season."
"We are nearly half-way through the campaign now and it hasn't really worked out that way. We don't have all season to play around with this."
"It is something we need to constantly monitor and see what the best balance is between success for the team and short-term outcomes, and development of those players who we have put a lot of faith into."
However, with Jos Buttler returning from England duty and Khawaja signing, things look on the up for the Red Rose.
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