Worcestershire coach Tom Moody is confident that the signing of Chaminda Vaas will complement the arrival later this summer of Shoaib Akhtar.
The Sri Lanka Test left-arm opening bowler has been signed on a two-month contract for the early part of the 2005 season, as cover until the high-profile Pakistani speedster becomes available.
There has even been speculation that Akhtar's signing, which was announced before Christmas, may not happen at all, given his track record of unavailability in English domestic cricket, but Moody says he has no worries on that front.
"Shoaib's signing has been seen as a potentially tricky one for us," he said. "Things have been well-publicised on that front and there's a lot of water to go under the bridge before he comes our way but I feel comfortable that everything will go through as expected.
"In the meantime, we will have Chaminda's services over the first couple of months of the season.
"Really, we just wanted someone to bolster our attack over the first part of the season, so to have secured a world-class left-armer of Chaminda's pedigree is a huge bonus."
The unhappy signing of Australian flop Mark Harrity apart, Vaas is effectively a left-arm replacement for Alamgir Sheriyar. For all his waywardness, Sheriyar has been missed since departing New Road for Kent two winters ago.
Moody said: "We wanted to secure someone who gave us variety to our attack and we have ended up with just the right balance.
"Chaminda's career record, mostly on wickets in the subcontinent, speaks for itself and it is our belief that his style of bowling will ideally suit the playing conditions during the early part of the season.
"He will help us exploit the swing and seam in the first part of the summer, before Shoaib comes in to take advantage of the harder, drier wickets in the second half of the season. He's a genuine match-winner, who offers raw pace.
"They're two different types of cricketer but they're both quality and that's the bottom line."
Now 31, Vaas has taken 269 Test wickets for his country since making his debut in 1994 and was part of Sri Lanka's World Cup-winning team in 1996. He is optimistic of making an impact in English county cricket, based on his international appearances here.
"I have always enjoyed my cricket in England and I very much look forward to this
opportunity with Worcestershire," Vaas said.
"I know how ambitious the county is and I look forward to playing with so many quality players."
Vaas, whose signing is still subject to official clearance from the Sri Lanka cricket authorities, is expected to arrive at New Road for the start of the summer, when he will link up with the county's other overseas signing for 2005, Zander De Bruyn.
The 29-year-old South African all-rounder broke into his country's Test team on the tour of India last November.