New recruit Chris Gayle is plunged straight into Worcestershire's National League relegation battle at Old Trafford tonight with a real ' Mission Impossible' on his hands.
Worcestershire currently stand eight points adrift of safety, with just five matches left, following Monday's home defeat to Cheltenham & Gloucester Trophy finalists Hampshire. If they were to lose again tonight to Lancashire under the Old Trafford floodlights, then their plight would look very serious indeed.
But Steve Rhodes' side can at least look forward to a bit of positive impetus in the form of West Indies batsman Gayle, especially in the light of news that the county's other overseas signing Shoaib Akhtar has suffered another "niggle".
Already due to miss tonight's game, Pakistan pace bowler Shoaib has returned from the Afro-Asian Cup oneday tournament in South Africa with another slight injury that will now keep him out of the County Championship clash against Lancashire which starts tomorrow at Blackpool.
Gayle has arrived at New Road for the rest of the season to replace South African all-rounder Zander de Bruyn.
The down side to the Jamaican's arrival is that it lessens the opportunities for out-of-favour Stephen Peters. And, given that the county have already hinted that they are looking for a high-profile international batsman for next summer, Peters was yesterday given permission to talk to other counties, despite still having a year left on his contract.
Gayle, who has played 52 Tests, offers head coach Rhodes another choice, not only as an opener, but as an extra option in the spin department. And, essentially, Worcestershire hope to have bought themselves a touch of class.
"It's always a gamble with an overseas batter," said Rhodes. "It only takes one ball to get him out.
"But this is an international opening batsman we're talking about.
"This bloke's got 300 in a Test match and not many do that.
"Put together his aggressive style in the one-day game and we've got ourselves a very entertaining cricketer.
"We're also well aware what he can do with the ball in one-day cricket too. And, with Ray Price and Gareth Batty there too, we've got the option of making spin quite a slant to our attack."
Worcestershire will take a look at the wicket tonight before deciding whether to go with three spinners and rely on veteran David Leatherdale as their third seamer.
The more likely scenario is that they will leave out one of Price and Batty. And, on current one-day form, England international or not, the one making way might have to be Batty.