In signing Dane Vilas, Lancashire acquired an immensely versatile cricketer, something which he proved in his maiden campaign at Emirates Old Trafford in 2017.
South African Vilas, who plied his trade with Ashwell Prince’s Cape Cobras franchise before moving to the Dolphins for 2017/18, has enjoyed success with bat and gloves in both red and white ball cricket. He is also an exceptional slip catcher and ground fielder.
At the age of 31 (now 32), the right-hander, signed a two-year deal as a Kolpak player.
He has added significant experience to the Red Rose squad having played six Test Matches for his country in 2015 and 2016.
His opportunities at Test level were limited by the emergence of Quinton de Kock, with his last appearance for the Proteas coming against England at Johannesburg in January 2016.
Vilas has scored nearly 6,500 first-class runs with 14 centuries since debuting in 2006, with a best of 244 coming for Lancashire against Hampshire at Old Trafford in June of 2017. In all, he scored 662 Championship runs in the season.
His previous best of 216 not out came for the Cobras against his former team Highveld Lions in January 2016. He averages just short of 40 in first-class cricket.
It was the second of his three career double centuries to date, with his first coming for the Lions against the Titans in 2009, a score of 203.
Vilas is also closing in on 300 career dismissals behind the stumps in first-class cricket.
Although he did not need to take the gloves in his first season with Lancashire, it is great for Glen Chapple to know that he has competition and cover behind the stumps for Alex Davies, Jos Buttler and Brooke Guest.
Vilas has also played one Twenty20 international, against India at Johannesburg in March 2012, although he did not bat or affect a dismissal in a rain-affected win.
He has scored seven hundreds in 118 List A appearances during a career which has also seen him captain South Africa A and the Cobras.
Two of those tons came for the Red Rose in the Royal London one-day Cup in 2017, against Worcestershire at Old Trafford and away at Durham.
In all, he scored 408 runs from eight appearances with two further fifties. As a result, he was named as Lancashire’s one-day Player of the Year.
A hard-hitter of the ball, he has also scored 10 fifties in T20 cricket, with a notable strike-rate of just above 122 in the shortest format.
During the 2017/18 South African season, he reached 100 career appearances.
He has won both the four-day Sunfoil Series with the Cobras as well as the Pro20 Series.
Vilas seems to be a man of many talents, with him appearing in the film Hansie in 2008. The film was about the life of former South African captain Hansie Cronje.
He was cast as fast bowler Allan Donald by producers, who wanted to add authenticity to on-field scenes by using real-life cricketers.