Sussex sign McCullum for Twenty20

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The Independent Online

Sussex have signed New Zealand batsman Brendon McCullum for this season's Twenty20 competition.

The big-hitting wicketkeeper batsman replaces Sri Lanka's Tillakaratne Dilshan, who has been prevented from turning out for the south-coast county because of his country's additional tours to the USA and Zimbabwe in late May and early June.

McCullum became available when New Zealand postponed their scheduled June tour of Zimbabwe.

Sussex's professional cricket manger, Mark Robinson told the county's official website, "Brendon was always on our shortlist for 2010 and once New Zealand's tour to Zimbabwe was postponed we made our move.

"His power at the top of the order can give us the start we need to help us defend our 2009 title success."

Robinson added: "It is a shame Sussex supporters will not get to see Dilshan, though we hope we can bring him at some point in the future."

McCullum's exciting - and innovative - shot making was highlighted in the recent Twenty20 international against Australia in Christchurch when he made an unbeaten 116 off just 56 balls and was scooping sixes and boundaries behind the wicket off pace bowler Shaun Tait.

The 28-year-old right-handed opener has an average of 36.55 at a strike-rate of 133.19 in the shortest form of the game and hit a highest score of 158 not out in the very first Indian Premier League game in 2007.