County news March 16, 2013

Steyn available for English T20

Dale Steyn, the South Africa fast bowler who tops the world Test rankings, is available to play Twenty20 cricket this summer after the end of the Champions Trophy.

Warwickshire were offered first refusal for Steyn, who enjoyed a successful stint at Edgbaston in 2007, but they have chosen not to go ahead, leaving the way open for other counties to consider the option.

At a time when England's FLt20 tournament is under pressure to match the appeal of more hyped tournaments elsewhere, and when an ECB committee is considering how a relaunched tournament next season can succeed, the thought of Steyn not being snapped up is hard to imagine.

But Steyn's lofty salary expectations were a factor for Warwickshire and he could be deemed unaffordable by the few other counties who have yet to sign the maximum number of two overseas players for the competition.

Finances are tight at Edgbaston. The club recently negotiated a freeze in their repayment plan with the council and saw a naming-rights deal - also with Birmingham City Council - collapse at the last moment.

Warwickshire also have a policy of fielding just one overseas player in the T20. The club have already committed themselves to New Zealand's offspinner Jeetan Patel for the entire season and contended that signing a second overseas player for a short period could disrupt the dressing room and reduce the opportunities for homegrown players.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo