Southampton:The local papers may have focussed more on Durham's win against Hampshire in the Friends Provident Cup final, but it was the speculation around Shane Warne's taking up German citizenship that was hogging the headlines everywhere else in the world.
The leg-spinner now says he won't become Adolf Warne anytime soon. And Hampshire insist the England Cricket Board's new stipulation of just one Non-EU player from 2008 won't stop them from retaining Warne as the only overseas player.
"Well Daren Powell will be going back to the West Indies soon, to take part in the Twenty20 World Cup. With Shane Warne, it really depends on how long he wants to play. If he wants to carry on in 2009, he's such a good captain, and still bowls extremely well. If Shane Warne wants to come back, it'll be fine with us," said Tim Tremlett, Director of Cricket, Hampshire.
For some like Shane Warne, it's a way of keeping in touch with the game after finishing their international duties, and also earning some extra bucks. While for others, it's a way back to the national team. An example of course is Zaheer Khan, who came to Worcestershire in 2006 after being dropped, and went on to take 68 wickets and york his way back to the national team.
As did Harbhajan Singh. The off-spinner has taken a total of 39 wickets so far, in county, Pro40 and 50-over games. That has bought the Turbanator a place in India's Twenty20 World Cup squad. And while Harbhajan's role once again emphasises the importance of overseas players to a county side, local professionals don't see the ECB's new one-overseas-player law as one that could affect the level of domestic cricket in England
"I can't see it affecting the teams too much. I think what we've seen over the last couple of years is that County Cricket is becoming a lot stronger, and it's becoming very hard to get a place in the side. But certainly gives an opportunity for hopefully a youngster or a home-grown talent to come through," said Paul Collingwood, captain, England one-day team.
However, these are the faces that keep the County scene alive, bringing not just the spectators, but also the sponsors. And it is best for Hampshire and English cricket at large, to have Warne playing domestic cricket - as a German or otherwise!