New Zealand Test star Kane Williamson is to return to Gloucestershire as overseas player at the end of this month.
And the county have further strengthened their young squad by agreeing a two-year contract with former Durham all-rounder Paul Muchall, who has been on a six-week trial with the club.
Williamson will not be available for the first three County Championship games of this season, but is scheduled to arrive in time for the first four-day home game against Glamorgan, starting on April 26.
The young Kiwi proved a popular member of the Gloucestershire dressing room last season and averaged 36 in 23 Championship innings, which yielded 831 runs.
Williamson was also a regular in 40-over and Twenty20 cricket for the county in 2011 and since then has boosted his international career in all formats.
He should be available for most, if not all, of Gloucestershire’s Twenty20 Cup campaign this summer, before leaving to take part in New Zealand’s tour to West Indies.
Under an agreement with the New Zealand Cricket Board, another highly-rated young Kiwi player will then be sent over to replace him.
Muchall is delighted to be back in county cricket after two years with MCC Young Cricketers. Before that he was with Durham, together with elder brother Gordon Muchall.
There Paul, 25, was often a second XI team-mate of fellow all-rounder Will Gidman, who proved such a spectacular success for Gloucestershire last season after moving down from Durham.
Muchall said: “I really benefitted from my two years with MCC Young Cricketers. It is a great foundation for players who want to break into the county game.
“I’ve always enjoyed playing alongside Will Gidman. We do similar things in different styles and if I can have half the first season with Gloucestershire that he enjoyed last summer I’ll be happy.”