Adam Milne has signed a contract to play for Essex this English county season, further reinforcing how much other countries value the skills of New Zealand's current cricketing crop.

He will join Jesse Ryder and Auckland pace bowler Matt Quinn, who holds a British passport, at the county.

Milne, despite several injury spells, has risen to 13th in the international Twenty20 bowling rankings with 18 wickets from 14 matches at a strike rate of 17. He delivers at speeds upwards of 150km/h in his pomp.

The 23-year-old received a no objection certificate from New Zealand Cricket from July 1 to August 20. It is uncertain which format he will play in England, but the timeframe encompasses the second half of the T20 Blast, the Royal London One-Day Cup until the quarter-finals, and four of Essex's division two county championship matches.


Milne already has a contract with the Daniel Vettori-coached Royal Bangalore Challengers in the Indian Premier League.

His Essex signing continues a trend in which English counties have recruited New Zealanders in droves.

The friendly competitiveness with which last year's touring team played has created a mindset that a New Zealand presence might deliver such spirit into a county's ranks.

Brendon McCullum's team was revered by players, administrators, media and fans. A relatively docile Ashes series had pundits querying why New Zealand was only allotted two tests. The 1-1 result was their seventh consecutive undefeated series. New Zealand lost at Lord's but won at Headingley, their first test victory on English soil in 16 years. They lost the ODIs 3-2 and solitary T20I.

The Black Caps are perfect targets this year, with no international cricket scheduled between April and mid-July.

After that, they are pencilled in to play from late July to April against Zimbabwe (away), South Africa (home and away), India (away), Bangladesh (home), Pakistan (home) and Australia (away).

NZC's decision indicates Milne is unlikely to be required for test duty in Africa.

Ten current or former Black Caps are signed in various formats across the English season.

They include Matt Henry and Mitchell Santner (Worcestershire), McCullum and Mitchell McClenaghan (Middlesex), Hamish Rutherford (Derbyshire), Ryder (Essex), Ross Taylor (Sussex), Neil Wagner (Lancashire) and Kane Williamson (Yorkshire).

Luke Ronchi is also understood to be in discussions with a county. He played for Somerset last season.

McCullum (Rajkot), McClenaghan and Corey Anderson (Mumbai), Williamson and Trent Boult (Hyderabad) have IPL deals.

Martin Guptill, Colin Munro and Tim Southee are among those understood to be seeking contracts at the auction on February 6.