Hampshire have continued their squad rebuilding programme after signing Durham batsman Will Smith on a two-year deal.
The 31-year-old was an integral part of the county champions’ line-up this summer, playing 16 times and scored 786 runs at an average of 30.23.
But with Durham looking to reduce their budget amid financial concerns, Hampshire have moved quickly once Smith was made available.
Having left Nottinghamshire in 2006, the right-hander will certainly add extra quality to the Hampshire middle order, which often failed to weigh in last season, while he can also open the batting if required.
Smith said: ‘I’m delighted to sign with Hampshire and really excited by the opportunity.’
While his arrival would raise doubts over the prospects of a return for Neil McKenzie, it certainly adds strength to the squad that failed to mount a promotion challenge to climb back to division one in four-day cricket.
Hampshire manager Giles White said: ‘We are looking forward to welcoming Will and his family to the club.
‘Alongside his batting and fielding he brings a wealth of experience, having played his part in a number of championship-winning sides.’
Meanwhile, young batsman Sean Terry has been handed a new two-year contract with the club.
White said: ‘Sean had an opportunity to impress at the back end of the year and did just that.
‘He is a popular member of the squad, has a good attitude and thoroughly deserves his graduation onto the full staff.
‘It is now important for him to keep improving and to push himself into the reckoning for the start of next season.’
The next priority for White is to secure an overseas player for 2014 as he targets a bowler.
Smith joins Matt Coles and Raul Brathwaite, who have signed recently, but Hamza Riazuddin has ended his asscoiation with the county after failing to nail down a regular place in the side and has retired from first class cricket.
Adam Rouse, Jack Sheppard and Michael Roberts have been released, while Jake George has left the club after deciding to pursue a university course.