HAMPSHIRE have signed Australian off-spinner Nathan Lyon as their overseas player in next year’s Specsavers County Championship.

The 31-year-old - considered the best off-spinner to ever represent Australia – has put pen-to-paper on a red-ball contract for 2020.

It will be his second stint in the County Championship, having played four matches in division two for Worcestershire in 2017 when he took  six wickets at an underwhelming 67 apiece. 

His only previous  Ageas Bowl outings were warm-up matches at this year’s World Cup, before helping Aaron Finch’s side reach the semi-finals.

With 363 wickets from 91 Tests, including 20 in this year’s Ashes, he is Australia’s third-highest wicket-taker in the longer form, behind Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath.

The addition of Lyon is likely to mean fewer opportunities for the likes of Mason Crane and Brad Taylor, but he will also be a useful sounding board for Hampshire's young twirlers.

Hampshire director of cricket Giles White said: “Nathan is a really high-class spinner and we identified him in the summer as someone who would be a great addition to our Championship side.

"He has a real appetite for county cricket and is keen to be a part of what we’re trying to do here, so we’re delighted to secure his signature and can’t wait to have him on board next summer.”

Lyon said: “It’s a fabulous opportunity to be involved with a leading county who have had a long and successful relationship with Australian cricketers.

"I love playing cricket in England and no doubt will enjoy the 2020 summer with the Hampshire players, coaches, members and supporters. We will all be focused on winning the County Championship in 2020 - I can’t wait.”