Ryan McLaren will decide in the next two weeks whether his international future will be in South Africa or England.
McLaren, 24, whose hat-trick helped Kent to victory in Saturday's Twenty20 final, is currently playing for them as a Kolpak player. His one-year contract runs out next month, but if he renews the deal and leaves behind his homeland - as his captain Rob Key hopes he will - then he will eventually qualify for England, although it would take him four years and he would be 28. It would be the same path taken by Kevin Pietersen and Jonathan Trott.

McLaren, who plays for the Eagles franchise, was born in Kimberley and has played for South Africa Under-19. If he chooses his native South Africa, he could cut down his chances of playing in England, with counties allowed one overseas player - rather than two - from next year.

"International cricket is your aspiration like any other cricketer," McLaren said after the final on Saturday. "I've got to make important decisions - and make them in the next two weeks."

Key gave him his backing. "Ryan is a serious athlete. He can bowl and bat and is a serious find for us. Let's hope he stays because he can be at Kent for a long time. Everyone has seen what a great cricketer he is and he deserves some international recognition. But Ryan has got a big decision to make."

He's come a long way in two years, when he was helping with the covers at Edgbaston as part of the Warwickshire groundstaff after Allan Donald invited him to play with Knowle and Dorridge in the Birmingham League.

He played for Warwickshire seconds but wasn't offered a contract and headed to Kent after their director of cricket, Graham Ford, rang him to ask him to play in 2007. He averages 24.54 with the ball in first-class cricket. While his first-class average with the bat this season is 19.22, he topped the Kent averages for Twenty20 with 42.66.