Blackcaps fast bowler Lockie Ferguson has signed for England country cricket side Yorkshire in their Twenty20 Blast competition as he nears a return to cricket.
Ferguson has been ruled plagued by injury this season after picking up a stress fracture to his lumbar spine that ruled him out of cricket for over 10 weeks.
But with his return to the game nearing, the speedster hasn't completely ruled himself out of the Test Championship squad but has admitted his focus right now is on the shortest format of the game.
"I don't think I make that call to be honest," Ferguson says. "It's definitely a focus for me in the future but with a Bangladesh series I'm trying to get back for, then the Indian Premier League and now with the Blast.
"Certainly to play in the test championship final would be something special and a format I want to play but at the same time I've got to focus on what's coming up next for me and make sure I'm fit and ready to go."
"It's a big year for T20 cricket with the World Cup [in India] towards the end of the year," Ferguson says. "So getting regular top level T20 cricket throughout the year, particularly at such a big county, is hugely beneficial."
In a statement on Thursday, Yorkshire County Cricket Club confirmed Ferguson’s acquisition for all the Vikings’ North Group matches in June and July, subject to any international involvement.
The 29-year-old hasn't played since the West Indies T20 series in November when he bowled and took an impressive 5-21 - which was the best T20 Bowling Performance of 2020 rated by ESPN Cricinfo - before he was diagnosed with a partial stress fracture to his spine.
After a long rehab process, the lighting fast quick is into his third week of bowling and will make his return to cricket with his Parnell club side next week
He will then join up with the Blackcaps and be assessed for a potential return in the three-match T20 series against Bangladesh starting on March 28.
"That's definitely the aim," Ferguson says. "It's a bit of a process and I can't make that call right now with the series under a month away.
"Certainly, there are some boxes to tick before I get back to being available for selection but the way things have been trucking it's been going really well so that's the goal provided I'm selected."
The Auckland-native will then turn his attention to the Indian Premier League for coach Brendon McCullum’s Kolkata Knight Riders before travelling to England for their domestic T20 competition.