Lancashire sign Finn Allen and Jackson Bird on overseas deals

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Allen enjoyed a remarkable breakthrough season in New Zealand’s Super Smash

Lancashire have announced the signings of Finn Allen, the 21-year-old New Zealand batsman, and Jackson Bird, the experienced Australian seamer, as overseas players for the T20 Blast and County Championship respectively.

Allen enjoyed a breakout season for Wellington in this year’s Super Smash, hitting a competition-leading 512 runs at 56.88 with a strike rate of 193.93. His feats earned him an IPL contract at Royal Challengers Bangalore as a replacement for Josh Philippe, and he will travel straight to the UK from India for the start of the T20 Blast.

Allen is yet to make his international debut – though was named as a standby player during the series against Australia last month – and has played only 13 professional T20 games. As a result, he would have fallen short of the ECB’s requirements for a visa, but he is able to appear as an overseas player thanks to a British passport, which he has previously used to play for MCC Young Cricketers and for Brondesbury in the Middlesex League.

“I’m really excited to get over to England,” Allen said. “It will be my first spell in county cricket and a great opportunity test myself in one of the world’s best T20 tournaments. To win the Super Smash, and finish as leading run scorer in my breakthrough T20 tournament, has provided me with a platform and I am now looking forward to continuing to learn and improve as a cricketer.

“Lancashire is a huge Club with a proud history and I absolutely can’t wait to play at Emirates Old Trafford throughout the Vitality Blast competition. They’ve got a very talented, young and exciting squad so I’m really looking forward to joining up with the group later this year to hopefully challenge for the title.”

Bird, the Australian fast bowler, is due to arrive in the UK in time to play Lancashire’s third Championship fixture of the season against Kent following the end of his Sheffield Shield commitments with Tasmania, and will be available for six matches.

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