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15th January 2008

Overseas Signings for 2008

Chanderpaul, who recently became only the third player to score half centuries in seven consecutive Test Matches, will return to the Riverside in 2008 after a particularly successful stint at the Club last year.  Chanderpaul is currently on tour with the West Indies and will arrive at the Riverside after the Twenty20 Cup once his international commitments come to an end.

South Africans Neil McKenzie and Albie Morkel will cover the overseas position until Chanderpaul joins up with the squad.  McKenzie, who recently represented South Africa in the second Test against the West Indies, will arrive at the Riverside in time for the start of the 2008 campaign.  A confident right hander, McKenzie has played for South Africa in 42 Test Matches and 59 One Day Internationals and has a first class batting average of 43.

Morkel, LHB/RMF, has been dubbed a ‘world class all rounder’ and has demonstrated that his playing style is particularly suited to Twenty20 cricket after achieving an average of 40 in the Twenty20 World Cup in 2007.  Morkel will join Durham Dynamos for their Twenty20 Cup campaign in mid June prior to Chanderpaul’s arrival.

Michael Di Venuto today announced his retirement from domestic cricket in Australia and has subsequently signed a two year deal with Durham and will play as a European player on his Italian passport.  Di Venuto scored over 1300 first class runs in 2007, including 12 fifties.

Michael Di Venuto said, “It was a big step for me to announce my retirement from Australian domestic cricket but I was keen to extend my time at Durham, especially after such a wonderful season last year.  I’m delighted to be in a position to commit to the Club for two more years, as it really is a wonderful Club to be involved with and my first season here was definitely a happy one.  I can’t wait to get back to defend our title!”

Shivnarine Chanderpaul commented, “Durham is a Club with a big future and after the success we had last year we are definitely keen to start the season as we finished.  I’ll be keeping an eye on the results while I’m on tour and I can’t wait to join up with the team later on in the year.”

Neil McKenzie added, “It’s a great opportunity for me to experience cricket at Durham, especially after their success in 2007.  I’m looking forward to helping to get them off to a great start in both the Friend Provident Trophy and the LV County Championship.”

Albie Morkel said, “I really want to make an impact on Durham’s Twenty20 Cup campaign and I’m sure my experience in the World Cup will be really useful.  There will be some pretty tough opposition but I’m looking forward to the challenge.”

Durham County Cricket Club Head Coach, Geoff Cook, said, “It’s wonderful for the Club to have secured the services of such wonderful batsmen for our 2008 campaign.  Diva and Shiv have both made invaluable contributions to the team and we’re keen to start where we left off and their involvement will be a great asset.  They have both had a tremendous influence on the team, both on and off the field, and it will be a great honour to welcome them back to the Riverside.

“To have players of Neil and Albie’s calibre committing to the Durham cause is a great achievement.  We are determined to improve our performance in the Twenty20 Cup and I think Albie will be a great asset to our set up.  I’m sure Neil’s involvement in the early stages of the season will get us off to the best possible start in 2008.”