LANCASHIRE captain, Dane Vilas, has signed as an overseas player at Emirates Old Trafford for the 2021 season following the expiry of his non-overseas contract status.

Vilas’ ‘Kolpak’ contract status came to an end on December 31 2020 upon the expiry of the UK’s transition period from the European Union and the Club have moved swiftly to turn the 35-year-old’s contract into an overseas deal, extending his stay into a fifth season.

In his first season as full-time captain in 2019, Vilas oversaw Lancashire’s return to County Championship Division One at the first time of asking with an unbeaten record, and has also led the Red Rose to the knockout stages of limited-overs competitions three times.

Vilas is approaching 3,000 First-Class runs in 49 matches for Lancashire, surpassing the 1,000-run mark in 2019 at an average of 79.69 including a swashbuckling 266 against Glamorgan at Colwyn Bay, one of three double centuries he has struck for the club.

His performances that season, including a Lancashire ‘List A’ record knock of 166 off 100 balls against Notts Outlaws at Trent Bridge, earned Vilas three trophies at the Player of the Year awards.

Vilas said: “The potential end of my non-overseas status has been apparent for a while and I’ve worked closely with the club during that time to explore all available avenues.

“It has been a period of uncertainty, but I’m delighted that the situation is finally resolved and I will continue my career at Emirates Old Trafford. I absolutely love playing for Lancashire and see it very much as my home now.”

Lancashire’s director of cricket, Paul Allott, said: “Dane’s future at the Club was never in doubt, such has been his contribution over the last four seasons, but we are pleased to have the clarity around his status as we finalise our plans for 2021.

“Dane’s record in county cricket is first class and as good as anything you would expect from an overseas player, so in many ways it has been a luxury to have him registered without using one of our overseas slots.

“What cannot be reflected in those statistics is his off-field influence. He has been an exceptional leader since first stepping in as captain during 2018 and sets incredibly high standards for the next generation of Red Rose talent to follow.

“We are considering our options for the remaining overseas place to further strengthen our squad for the upcoming season.”