Derbyshire have signed the gifted Australia batsman Usman Khawaja for the first half of the 2011 county season.

126560 - Usman Khawaja joins Derbyshire

Khawaja, 24, is still awaiting a No Objection Certificate from Cricket Australia but could be with the side from the beginning of the season through to conclusion of the Friends Provident t20 tournament. He would follow in the footsteps of fellow Australian Chris Rogers, who was with Derbyshire until the end of last season.

Rogers has moved to Middle+++ and John Morris, the Derbyshire head of cricket, is excited about his replacement. "He has scored runs consistently for New South Wales and is a very entertaining player to watch," he said.

After waiting on the sidelines for half a year Khawaja made a much-anticipated Test debut against England in the final Ashes Test at Sydney in the beginning of the year. Though his returns - 37 and 21 - were modest, the poise and temperament he displayed were warmly welcomed by the Australian media.

His first-class average above 50 demonstrates the talent Derbyshire secured and Morris hopes the time playing county cricket will aid Khawaja's development. "Successful stints in county cricket have played an integral part in the development of many successful Australian cricketers and I'm sure Usman will benefit hugely from this experience."

In all, Khawaja is eligible for eight Championship matches and six Clydesdale Bank 40 fixtures as well as the 16-match t20 campaign.