Cricket World Cup 2015: Ten stars from the tournament playing county cricket this season

Four of New Zealand's in-form squad have already been signed by counties

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The Independent Online

After any World Cup, in any sport, there exists a hangover period when, after being bombarded with a daily dose of sporting excellence, it all abruptly comes to an end.

Luckily for English cricket fans, this year the wait will be blissfully short. The World Cup final is on Sunday 29 March, and the first round of County Championship fixtures starts the following weekend.

Excitingly, some of the World Cup's shining lights have already been snapped up by county sides, with New Zealanders, perhaps unsurprisingly, seemingly at the top of teams' shopping lists.

Here are ten World Cup stars set to grace a ground near you in the coming season:

Martin Guptill (New Zealand) - Derbyshire

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Guptill returns for another spell at the County Ground (AFP/Getty)

He may have been overshadowed somewhat by his opening partner Brendan McCullum during New Zealand's unbeaten start, but the classy right-hander has become a stalwart of the Derbyshire side during two seasons with the county. He returns for a third campaign, and will take part in their first nine matches.

Grant Elliot (New Zealand) - Leicestershire

He has had a muted impact in the World Cup thus far, but Elliot has been a dependable performer with both bat and ball for the Black Caps in recent seasons. The South-African born 35-year-old will be available for Leicestershire for the first 10 games of the season.

Shahid Afridi (Pakistan) - Northamptonshire

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Afridi will turn out for Northants in the T20 Blast (Getty Images)

Incredibly, Pakistan's clash with South Africa will be Afridi's 500th appearance for his nation, but after nearly 20 years of international cricket he still plays with the joyous naivety of a teenager. Oddly subdued so far in the World Cup, he still has the ability to change a match with a canny spell of leg-spin bowling or a devastating innings. Northants will be hoping he can bring both to the fore when he joins the county for the first few games of the T20 Blast.

 

Darren Sammy (West Indies) - Nottinghamshire

The hard-hitting, permanently-smiling West Indies all-rounder is one of world cricket's most popular figures, and he impressed during a spell with Glamorgan last season. A T20 specialist, he will give Notts' some much-needed firepower in the Blast with James Taylor and Alex Hales both likely to be on England duty.

Vernon Philander (South Africa) - Nottinghamshire

He limped out of South Africa's clash with India with a hamstring strain, but the bowling all-rounder should return to play a crucial role for the Proteas in the latter stages. He will turn out for Notts in all competitions until the start of June, before making way for the Australian seamer Ben Hilfenhaus.

Corey Anderson (New Zealand) - Somerset

Anderson combines blistering striking ability from the lower middle-order (he scored the second-fastest century in ODI history) with an uncanny ability to take wickets. He has displayed both facets of his game so far in the World Cup, and will hope to do the same when he joins Somerset for the second half of their T20 Blast campaign.

Kumar Sangakkara (Sri Lanka) - Surrey

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Sangakkara could be available for the whole county season (Getty)

One of the game's all-time greats is having a fabulous farewell tournament, striking effortless match-winning centuries against Bangladesh and England. He is due to retire from ODI cricket after the World Cup, and should thus be available for the majority of Surrey's season.

Aaron Finch (Australia) - Yorkshire

Finch set the tone for the World Cup and demonstrated his exceptional striking ability when he put England to the sword with 135 off 128 balls in the opening match. He impressed during Yorkshire's Championship-winning season last year, and will be able for the county in all formats again after the IPL finishes.

Kane Williamson (New Zealand) - Yorkshire

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Williamson will be hoping for more success with Yorkshire (AFP/Getty)

Over the past twelve months Williamson has cemented his reputation as one of the world's best batsmen in all formats, and shepherded New Zealand to a dramatic victory against Australia in the game of the tournament so far. Another key part of Yorkshire's successful 2014 campaign, he will return for the end of their title-defence this time around.

Glenn Maxwell (Australia) - Yorkshire

The third of Yorkshire's marquee overseas signings, Maxwell is one of the most eye-catching limited-overs batsmen in the world. Blistering knocks in Australia's clashes with England and Afghanistan, against whom he smote 88 off just 39 balls, gave a taste of what the White Rose faithful will expect when he joins the county for the T20 blast.

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