Twenty-five-year-old Agar, who has won 15 International T20 caps for Australia, has taken 46 wickets in his T20 career and played a key role within the Perth Scorchers teams that won the Men’s Big Bash League in 2014/15 and 2016/17.

He burst onto the international scene in 2013 after being awarded his Baggy Green for Australia in the opening Test of the Ashes series at Trent Bridge, where he set a world-record score for a number 11 batsman of 98.

Securing him (Ashton) for the entire Vitality Blast campaign bolsters our bowling attack and gives us an excellent spin pairing with Jeetan Patel.

Jim Troughton

Jim Troughton, Birmingham Bears Men’s First Team Coach, said: “Ashton has won major T20 trophies and possesses quality international experience.

“Securing him for the entire Vitality Blast campaign bolsters our bowling attack and gives us an excellent spin pairing with Jeetan Patel. However, Ashton has also proven himself to be a very capable and powerful batsman who can clear the ropes, whilst also being an excellent fielder.

“In addition to having excellent cricketers, it’s important that we have the right characters taking to the field for the Bears and, having played alongside Ian Bell during Perth Scorchers victorious Big Bash campaign in 2016/17, we have no doubt that he’ll wear the Bear with pride and be a great addition to the dressing room.

“Having now agreed terms with Ashton, as a club we would like to thank New Zealand international Colin de Grandhomme for his attitude and commitment to the Bears in our last two Vitality Blast campaigns and we wish him every success in the game moving forward.”

Agar will join up with the Bears squad ahead of the opening game of the Vitality Blast campaign away to local rivals, and reigning champions, Worcestershire Rapids on Friday 19 July. He will then remain available throughout the campaign and feature for the Bears should they make the quarter finals and secure a fourth return to Finals day in six years.

Ashton Agar said: “I’m thrilled to sign for Birmingham Bears for this year’s Vitality Blast and to make Birmingham my home for July, August and hopefully September!

“Whilst they missed out on qualification last year, the Bears have been one of the top teams in the Blast over the last five years and I would love to play a lead role in bringing them back home to Edgbaston for Finals Day this year.

“Having played at Edgbaston for Australia in last summer’s IT20 against England, I’ve certainly experienced its atmosphere and know just how passionate the supporters can be. I’m certainly looking forward to having them behind us when we start our Blast campaign in July.”

Tickets for Birmingham Bears Vitality Blast home games go on-sale at 10am on Monday 4 March at the early bird price of £15 for adults, whilst under 16s go free at all times.

Supporters can secure the best value package for all Vitality Blast games by purchasing a Season Pass at £77 for all seven home games.