Worcestershire have offered to sign up Umar Gul, the Pakistan fast bowler, as their overseas professional for the first part of the 2008 season.
"We have talked to Umar's representative in the United Kingdom and have made an offer. We will continue to talk to see what is possible," Mark Newton, the club's chief executive told the Times, a London-based newspaper. "We would like Umar to be our overseas player for the early part of next season and his likely availability would be from early May to early August.
"We are just hoping it [the signing] will all come to fruition and it will be an exciting time if Umar, Simon Jones, Kabir Ali and Matt Mason are all fit and available for next season. Umar is one of the most exciting prospects around and in addition to Test cricket, he has also proved to be economical in Twenty20 cricket."
Gul, 23, was the highest wicket-taker in the ICC World Twenty20 with 13 wickets at a miserly 5.60 runs per over. He has also taken 67 wickets at 31.55 from 16 Tests and 44 wickets at 28.27 from 34 ODIs.
But Gul needs clearance from the Pakistan board before joining Worcestershire. If the board gives him permission, it will be his maiden appearance on the county circuit. Gloucestershire had signed him on for the 2007 season but the Pakistan board had refused to release him owing to concerns about his fitness.
Worcestershire's bowling department has been bolstered by the signing of Simon Jones, the England fast bowler, who will be on a two-year contract. Kabir Ali, who has played 14 ODIs and a Test, and Matt Mason would provide support. Mason is undergoing rehabilitation work after missing most of the previous season due to a shoulder injury.