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Sussex, the defending Twenty20 champions, have signed Tillakaratne Dilshan for the 2010 tournament. Dilshan, who was the Player of the Tournament at the 2009 World Twenty20, will join Yasir Arafat and Dwayne Smith as the county's overseas players.

The club expect Dilshan to be available for the start of the Twenty20 tournament in early June and Mark Robinson, the Sussex cricket manager, said it was a major boost to be able to secure Dilshan at a time when top-quality overseas players are in short supply due to a packed international calendar.

"The recruitment of overseas players is becoming more complex as the international fixture list grows, including the possibility of staging major matches at neutral venues such as the UAE and USA," said Robinson. "With Yasir Arafat likely to have Pakistan commitments and Dwayne Smith with the West Indies, the signing of one of the world's leading batsman gives us some exciting options.

"We want our main players to have genuine match winning ability and we believe we have that with Dilshan, Yasir and Dwayne. With that bit of luck always required, I feel our 2010 squad can emulate our 2009 success."

Counties are allowed to sign up to four overseas players for the Twenty20 but only two can play in a match. A number of teams have dipped into the international market to secure big-name signings for the tournament with Shahid Afridi heading to Hampshire along with Abdul Razzaq, Adam Gilchrist joining Middlesex and Cameron White going to Somerset.

However, it now seems unlikely that the winners and runners-up from the competition will qualify for the Champions League Twenty20 in India as the dates for that event clash with the final two weeks of the domestic season. Last year, Sussex and Somerset were the English representatives at the inaugural Champions League. Sussex begin the defence of their domestic title at home against Somerset on June 1.

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