Worcestershire are hoping to find out by the end of this week's post-season wind-down in the Channel Islands whether they have any realistic hopes of signing former England paceman Simon Jones.
The injury-plagued Welshman, an Ashes hero with England only two years ago, has spoken with Worcestershire. The subject remains top of the agenda while Jones' county Glamorgan spend the next few days holed up on Guernsey playing Worcestershire in an end-of-season charity six-a-side tournament.
But any progress on Worcestershire's part rather depends on how keen Jones is to stay at Sophia Gardens now that his former team-mate Matthew Maynard has been installed as director of cricket.
A further incentive could be that Glamorgan have also just welcomed back Dean Conway - familiar to Jones and all his injury troubles, from his England days - as their new physio. If they fail to match his required terms, and he goes elsewhere, wealthy Hampshire would be expected to outbid cash-strapped, flood-ravaged Worcestershire.
Meanwhile, one player who will be around when cricket returns to New Road after a ten-month absence in April will be young opening batsman Daryl Mitchell.
After speculation that he might try his luck elsewhere after finding his chances surprisingly limited early in the season, Mitchell has signed a new, improved, two-year deal tieing the eldest of Worcestershire's three local boys to his native county until 2009. "I'm a Worcestershire lad and I want to play for the club for many years to come," Mitchell said. "I feel that with the way that I have performed in the last few championship games I have established myself at the top of the order. And I want to help Worcestershire bounce straight back."
Stourbridge-born Richard Jones, another of their local products, and Josh Knappett have verbally agreed new deals while Worcestershire are waiting to see whether Ray Price will sign his offer of a new one-year contract - a deal that will be looked at again this time next year when he will be considered English-qualified and no longer considered a Kolpak player. n Yorkshire have signed Pakistan pace bowler Rana Naved-ul-Hasan on a two-year deal.
The 29-year-old was a key part of the Sussex side that retained the LV County Championship but was told he could leave due to next year's ruling which restricts counties to one overseas player, with compatriot Mushtaq Ahmed taking that role.
Naved, who has played nine Tests and 62 one-day internationals for his country, chose Yorkshire despite interest from Leicestershire, who have lost England seamer Stuart Broad to Nottinghamshire.
Naved will undergo a thorough medical examination at the end of the year as Yorkshire assess his recovery from a horror injury to his right shoulder at Chester-le-Street early this month when he slid into advertising hoardings and forced a 50-minute halt to play while paramedics dealt with his injury. His contract includes a get-out clause should his rehabilitation not go to plan. n Chris Schofield has signed a new contract to keep him at Surrey for a further two years.
The 28-year-old moved to the Oval during the 2006 season from minor county Suffolk. Since then he has played a key role for Surrey in the one-day and four-day format of the game.
After a domestic Twenty20 campaign in which he took 17 wickets at an economy rate of six runs per over, he was selected in England's World Twenty20 squad. Schofield took 50 first-class wickets this season at 25.22.