BUCKS Cricket Club's prospects this season have been boosted by the exciting signing of forner England one-day international batsman Mal Loye.

Loye, who played seven times for England as recently as 2007, has been one of the most consistent batsmen in county cricket over the past 20 years.

Now 39, he was released by Northants at the end of last season, following a distinguished first-class career during which he scored more than 15,000 runs at an average of 40.

Loye made his Championship debut for Northants in 1991, and was capped in 1994.

In 1998, he smashed the county's batting record with an innings of 322 not out against Glamorgan, durting which he shareed a stand of 401 with David Ripley, which beat the fourth-wicket partnership record in England.

Loye transferred to Lancashire in 2003 and was their leading scorer in 2005. He returned to Northants at the start of the 2009 season on a two-year contract which was not renewed last autumn.

Bucks captain Jason Harrison was delighted with his new signing.

"Mal is very keen to play for us," he said. "He is desperate to get back into the first-class game. I've known Mal since we played cricket together as youngster, and he is a smashing bloke who will fit into the team well.

He is renowned as a big six-hitter, so Bucks spectators better keep an eye on the cricket while he is batting."

Loye will make his debut in a one-day friendly for Bucks against Oxfordshire at Aston Rowant this Sunday (11am).