Worcestershire CCC have signed prolific New Zealand opening batsman Hamish Rutherford – who scored 171 against England on his Test debut – as their overseas player for the opening phase of the 2019 campaign.

CEO Matt Rawnsley confirmed that Rutherford will link up with the County for the opening Specsavers County Championship away match with Leicestershire from April 11-14 plus the first five matches for the Rapids in the Royal London One-Day Cup.

He is available to face Lancashire away (April 17), Leicestershire away (April 21), Durham home (April 24), Northamptonshire away (April 26) and Warwickshire home (April 28) in the Royal London One-Day Cup competition.

Rutherford will be reunited with County keeper and red ball vice-captain Ben Cox.

The pair were team-mates for two months this winter, having played for Otago Volts in the Super Smash T20 competition.

Rutherford follows a distinguished list of Black Caps who have represented the County in recent years including Colin Munro, Mitchell McClenaghan and 2019 Vitality Blast capture Martin Guptill.

The Dunedin born player is the son of former New Zealand captain Ken Rutherford and he previously played County cricket for Derbyshire.

He had that Test debut to remember on his home ground in 2013 when he hit three sixes and 22 fours in his 217 ball knock in a drawn encounter with England.

Rutherford, who will join up with Worcestershire on Sunday, has to date played 16 Tests, four ODIs and seven T20Is and in the early part of this winter was part of the New Zealand A team which toured India.

He has showed his prowess in List A cricket this winter when helping Otago Volts to reach the final of the 50 over Ford Trophy by top-scoring for his side with 393 runs in seven matches.

Rutherford was also their leading run-getter in the Super Smash – 227 – and 12 months ago led the way in red ball cricket with 577 runs in 10 games in the Plunket Shield.

The 29-year-old made his international breakthrough as part of the Kiwis squad for the 2008 Under-19 World Cup in Malaysia and then three centuries in four innings in the Plunket Shield in 2011-2012 paved the way for his breakthrough at Test level.

To date he has scored 5845 first class runs at an average of 35.85 – including 13 centuries – and 2610 List A runs at 34.34 with eight hundreds.

Rutherford said “I am delighted to be joining up with Worcestershire for the start of the county season. I’ve heard great things about the club from my Otago team mate, Ben Cox. I always enjoy playing county cricket and hope I can contribute to a strong start in the Championship and 50 over competition”

Callum Ferguson will then replace Rutherford as Worcestershire’s overseas player for the bulk of the summer.

He will link up with the County on April 27 in time for the Rapids home Royal London One-Day Cup match against Nottinghamshire on May 1.