Wanganui Collegiate old boy and Twenty20 Black Cap Tom Bruce has inked a contract with the Sussex County Cricket Club to play their full T20 Blast competition as a middle order batsman.

The 26-year-old, who was among some of the noteworthy players not to receive a New Zealand Cricket contract for 2018-19, was already in England to play some summer league cricket, turning out for Weybridge in the Surrey Premier League.

Sussex head coach and former Australian test player Jason Gillespie said the knee injury to South African Stiaan van Zyl would be "an extended lay-off", so Bruce was the appropriate replacement.

"Tom has experience on the biggest stage with New Zealand and is exactly the type of dynamic middle order stroke maker we're looking for.

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"The injury to Stiaan van Zyl forced us to reassess our squad and we've decided that we need to bring in a quality overseas batsman for the duration of the tournament."

As well as Weybridge, Bruce had made four appearances for Surrey in the Second XI Trophy competition, and made a good showcase in front of the Sussex staff when he smacked 172 off 135 balls against the club's 2nd XI recently.

Played by 18 English county cricket teams, T20 Blast is the third most prestigious professional Twenty20 competition in world cricket, behind the IPL and the Big Bash League.

Bruce could play his first T20 match for his new club on July 4 against Essex.

The right-handed batsman was born in King Country and boarded at Collegiate in the late 2000s, captaining the First XI and playing for the Wanganui senior representative team in 2009-10.

He made his name in Taranaki and then Central Districts cricket before getting the Black Caps callup in January 2017 to play Bangladesh.

Bruce has scored 958 runs at an average of 28.17 in his 14 appearences in T20 internationals.