Worcestershire's bowling prodigy, Kabir Ali, will be hoping for a repeat performance when he comes up against the Benson and Hedges Super Cup holders Gloucestershire at New Road today.
The young seamer, who made his County Championship bow only last September, scooped the Gold Award with impressive figures of 4 for 29 on his competition debut against Glamorgan on Sunday.
Now the Worcestershire chief executive, Mike Vockins, is hoping the club can establish a stranglehold on the Midlands/West/Wales Division when Mark Alleyne's side come to town. Vockins said: "It was a good win over Glamorgan yesterday, and Kabir Ali was delighted. I think it's pretty rare for someone to win the Gold Award on their debut in the competition. The win puts us in a good position at the top of the table, with a good run rate. Gloucestershire also had a good win over Warwickshire, but we are looking to repeat our victory."
Worcestershire should beware, however, because the B&H Cup and NatWest Trophy holders can also boast a bowler on form. James Averis returned the amazing figures of 4 for 8 as Warwickshire were scuttled for just 94, paving the way for a Gloucestershire triumph. Warwickshire are up against Northamptonshire at Birmingham and Lancashire, who were beaten in the Roses game by Yorkshire on Sunday, face Durham at Chester-le-Street.
The South Division clubs, meanwhile, aim to dodge the rain that washed out the weekend action. Kent take on Essex at Canterbury, and the county champions, Surrey, travel to Hove to meet Sussex.
In South Africa, the left-arm wrist spinner Paul Adams, who has been out of action since breaking a finger while fielding in the fifth Test against England in January, returns to the South African squad for their tour of Sri Lanka in July and August.
The 16-man squad named on Monday includes the 13 players who sealed a welcome 2-1 success in the three-match one-day series against Australia which finished on Sunday, plus Adams, the top-order batsman Daryll Cullinan and pace bowler David Terbrugge.
Adams, who broke a finger diving to save a ball on the boundary during the rain-shortened Centurion Test which has recently returned to the spotlight as part of the Hansie Cronje match-fixing inquiry, missed the recent tour of India, where another left-armer, Nicky Boje, made a name for himself with an impressive all-round performance in the second Test in Bangalore as South Africa clinched the series 2-0.
SOUTH AFRICA (for tour of Sri Lanka, July and August): S M Pollock (capt), M V Boucher (wkt), P R Adams, N Boje, D J Cullinan, H H Gibbs, A J Hall, M Hayward, J H Kallis, G Kirsten, L Klusener, N D McKenzie, M Ntini, J N Rhodes, R Telemachus, D J Terbrugge.