South Africa star Ntini joins Kent

LONDON: South Africa fast bowler Makhaya Ntini is to join Kent as their first overseas player this season, the English county announced on Friday.

Ntini has signed a five-week deal that will see him stay with the south-east side until late May, when he will be replaced at Kent''s Canterbury headquarters by Sri Lanka spinner Malinga Bandara.

The 32-year-old Ntini, renowned for his relentless stamina, is one of only three South Africans, along with fellow quicks Shaun Pollock and Allan Donald, to have taken 300 Test wickets.

Ntini, now just 10 wickets shy of the 400-mark, has been a mainstay of the Proteas'' attack for over a decade and in December played in his 100th Test.

However, he was dropped for the last two Tests of that series, against England, amid speculation his best days were behind him.

But Kent, who were planning to field Stuart Clark this season until the Australia seamer withdrew through injury, are in no doubt Ntini, who previously played county cricket for Midlands side Warwickshire, can be a force at first-class level.

They expect Ntini to arrive in England on Monday, with the bowler set to make his Kent debut a day later away to Lancashire in the County Championship.

"I''m delighted to sign Makhaya. He''s got a fantastic record and is a proven Test match seam bowler," said Kent team director Paul Farbrace.

"He has got a tremendous work ethic and is a similar character to Stuart Clark. He will be a great asset to the dressing room and everyone is excited by his arrival."