WORCESTERSHIRE have signed prolific New Zealand opener Hamish Rutherford as overseas player for the early part of the season.

Rutherford, 29, arrives on Sunday in time for the County Championship Division Two opener at Leicestershire next Thursday.

He will then play the first five matches in Rapids' Royal London One-Day Cup campaign.

Rutherford, who scored 171 against England on his Test debut in 2013, will be reunited with Ben Cox after the pair played for Otago Volts in the Super Smash T20.

The Dunedin-born player is the son of former New Zealand captain Ken Rutherford and has played county cricket for Derbyshire.

Rutherford has featured in 16 Tests, four ODIs and seven T20Is.

He helped Volts reach the 50-over Ford Trophy final with 393 runs in seven matches.

Rutherford also starred in the Super Smash with 227 and 12 months ago led the way in red-ball cricket with 577 in 10 games in the Plunket Shield.

He has scored 5,845 first-class runs at an average of 35.85, including 13 centuries, and 2,610 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 overseas player for the bulk of the summer.

He will link up on April 27 in time for Rapids' home one-day cup match against Nottinghamshire on May 1.