Worcestershire have been given a tonic in the shape of Gareth Batty who has returned from England-duty in time to skipper them in the Twenty20 Cup.
Ashley Giles' return to fitness has allowed England to release Batty back to his county. And, assuming Giles does not suffer another injury relapse over the next three weeks, that means Batty will take over from Graeme Hick as Worcestershire skipper for the eight Twenty20 Cup qualifying group games.
Worcestershire could also be set for another big boost if new overseas signing Shoaib Akhtar reports fit for tomorrow night's opener with Warwickshire at New Road.
The 'Rawalpindi Express' has suffered a slight leg strain which forced him to pull out of yesterday's expected appearance for an Asian XI in the Tsunami Match at The Oval. But Worcestershire coach Steve Rhodes is still hopeful that he will be fit.
"He's got a bit of a niggle," said Rhodes. "But we we never intending to play him in every Twenty20 game.
"Having said that, this short form of cricket is going to be an ideal way to build up his fitness for what he hopes to do for us over the final three months of the summer.
"He's got a real point to prove after the way he's been written off in international cricket. And he's raring to go for us."
This year's Twenty20 has come at an ideal time for Worcestershire as they are given the chance to forget a lost weekend.
Sunday's fifth one-day defeat on the trot came on the back of the County Championship defeat to Leicestershire the day before. But Rhodes sees the razzmatazz of the Twenty20 as a welcome distraction.
"We've had a bit of a hiccup in the Championship at a time
when things were going very well," said Rhodes. "And the defeat to Leicestershire is going to be hard to put out of your memory. It's a bitter pill to swallow.
"But we've now got quite a break before we have to pick ourselves up for the next Championship game, so let's have some fun with the Twenty20 first. Bring it on.
"We've got a lot of one-day cricket coming up and we're going to attack things a little bit differently.
"We can hopefully draw a line under our one-day season and start afresh.
"It won't be easy with players down, but we certainly won't be using that as an excuse." n Rod Marsh has removed himself from England's selection panel as he winds down his reign as the National Academy Director.
The former Australian wicketkeeper announced his decision to end his post at the Academy and return home earlier this year, but has remained on the selection panel alongside chairman David Graveney, Geoff Miller and coach Duncan Fletcher.
But Marsh has announced he would no longer be an active member of the selection panel as he prepares to return home to Australia and will instead oversee the handover of the Academy to successor Peter Moores.