NEW Zealand opening batsman Tom Latham will join Durham CCC as the club’s overseas player for the second half of the 2017 season.

The left-hander has agreed terms for a return to the club after the conclusion of the ICC Champions Trophy and will replace Stephen Cook.

The 24-year-old has become a key feature of the New Zealand international side and hit career-best scores in both Tests and ODIs during the recent series against Bangladesh.

Latham has previously featured for Durham’s Academy & 2nd XI sides and will be available from Cook’s departure at the end of June until the end of the season.

"I am really looking forward to another stint in county cricket in 2017,” Latham said.

“It is even more exciting to be returning to Durham, a club that I am familiar with having played for the academy back in 2010.

“I can't wait to get started with my new team mates and hope to be able to contribute positively both on and off the field."

Durham will begin the new season with a 48-point deficit in Division Two of the Specsavers County Championship, a penalty which accompanied their demotion as part of the terms of their financial bail-out from the England and Wales Cricket Board.

Durham head coach Jon Lewis said: "Tom is someone who we know well, and we were very keen to renew the relationship.

"He has potential to build on his excellent record up to now, and we are looking forward to welcoming him back to the club."