Warwickshire are looking to sign a second overseas player as cover for Heath Streak.
Streak (pictured), who had been expected to remain at Edgbaston until the end of the 2006 season, has patched up his differences with Zimbabwe Cricket and will leave the United Kingdom at the start of August.
In his absence, Warwickshire want an experienced bowler for the last seven weeks of the 2005 season and the whole of 2006.
"We're looking at bringing in an experienced bowler for the last couple of months of the season," Warwickshire captain Nick Knight told The Post.
"The process of looking has only just started, but we expect Heath to leave on about August 7 and we've got to think about the 2006 season."
When Streak joined Warwickshire in 2004 he maintained that he would not play for Zimbabwe until the country's cricket board underwent significant change; particularly over team selection.
As things stand, none of Streak's proposals have been met, which makes his about-face most surprising. Streak appears to believe that change is afoot, particularly the impending departure of chairman of selectors Max Ebrahim.
Yet there is a suspicion that his return will be used by President Robert Mugabe as a propaganda triumph in the lead-up to elections this month.
While several other white Zimbabwe players appear likely to follow Streak's lead, others (one being Grant Flower) say they can see no change and maintain their future lies in England.
Tim Munton, appointed as chairman of Warwickshire's cricket committee in place of Jamie McDowall, said that Streak's decision to return to international cricket had taken the club by surprise.
"We were a little bit surprised," Munton told The Post.
"But he's never made a secret of his desire to represent his country and we all wish him well. He's a strong man and committed to his principles so I'm sure he feels that things are changing for the better in Zimbabwe Cricket.
"Heath is available to us for only a small period of the 2006 season, which doesn't really fit in with our ideas of what we want from an overseas player. He understands that."
Munton dismissed the idea that the club would look to a Kolpak signing as a solution, saying: "The captain feels strongly that we should back the young players in the squad but it's an important chunk of the season. We're looking for someone in Heath's mould; an experienced senior pro to lead the attack. We're not going to sign anyone just for the sake of it."
One man who might have been ideal is Sri Lankan Chaminda Vaas. Unfortunately for Warwickshire, he recently signed a short-term deal at Worcestershire. Although his contract expires in July, regulations forbid anyone representing two counties in a season. Dale Steyn is surely too raw but Shaun Pollock is available and would appear ideal.
The counties have taken much criticism recently for signing players not qualified to play for England but credit is due to Warwickshire and, in particular, their captain, for taking the fuller view and supporting the club's ' homegrown' players.
Not only is it in the long-term best interests of club and country but Knight also presides over a young team absolutely dedicated to the captain that gave them a chance.
The much-quoted statistic that county cricket last season contained 60 players not qualified to play for England is misleading.
It includes the likes of Jonathan Trott, Matt Mason and Ray Price - all of whom have realistic chances of representing England in the longer term and can claim with some justification to strengthen the standard of cricket in this country.
It's much more of a problem for the countries from which these players are coming.