Kabir Ali has signed a new four-year deal with Worcestershire, committing himself to the county until the end of 2008.
Although Kabir had several months to run on his previous contract, Worcestershire's desire to secure the services of the 24-year-old swing bowler speak volumes of the high regard in which he is held at New Road.
The next four years will encompass Kabir's prime cricketing days. He has the ability to develop into a true international-class performer and feels the drive and knowledge of Worcestershire's coach, Tom Moody, will help him to this end.
"Worcestershire were the club that showed faith in me when I was 18 and I'm delighted to commit to them in the long-term," he told The Post last night.
"This is an important phase in my career and I feel that the excellent relationship I have with Tom and Damian D'Oliveira can help me take my game to the next level."
That level, of course, is regular international cricket. Kabir experienced an eventful series with England's one-day squad in South Africa, but emerged with enough credit to suggest he could well be a fixture in the side by the time of the World Cup in 2007.
He knows he is not yet the finished article, but has realistic aspirations to be regarded as an all-rounder and wants to bat in the top six. He also knows his mobility in the field can be improved and that an extra yard of pace would be a major advantage.
"I've had a bit of criticism over my fitness in the past," he admits. "But I'm working harder than ever and I'm looking to prove a few people wrong. I'm also working very hard on my batting, and feel it's coming along nicely."
Kabir's new deal, at a rate which reflects his position as a highly-promising international cricketer, is a real coup for Worcestershire.
The scramble to sign Gloucestershire's Jonathan Lewis - a similar style bowler but five years Kabir's senior - illustrates what a valuable commodity he is and there is no doubt that many county coaches would have been eyeing him with avarice.
There are relatively few swing bowlers in the game at present and Kabir's ability to gain late movement makes him a dangerous proposition.
He has an exciting future for sure and, though he has sometimes given the impression that he is happy to be viewed simply as a good county player, Moody will ensure Kabir works hard to fulfil a talent that deserves to be seen at the highest level. Worcestershire and England stand to be the beneficiaries.