Mark Robinson is delighted to add a "proven performer" to his T20 ranks.
Paul Stirling has reunited with the Bears ahead of the Vitality Blast campaign that starts with Blast Off on Saturday 20 May.
Stirling, who fired a century on Bears T20 debut last year, will act as cover for the incoming Glenn Maxwell.
The Australian will join up with his Bears teammates at the end of his involvement in the Indian Premier League where he’s set to star for a third season with Royal Challengers Bangalore having been bought for more than £ 1.3 million at auction.
“Paul is a proven performer with great impact stats in T20 competitions around the world,” said First Team Coach Robinson.
“We needed cover for Maxi and we’re not quite sure how many games he’ll miss as it’s down to how far his IPL team get in the competition. To be able to get someone of Paul’s quality to cover that is a great move for us. He’ll be a great addition.”
Stirling returns to Edgbaston following an intense schedule that includes franchise leagues around the world.
Since his final game for the Bears on 7 July, the Irish international has played in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup, IT20 series against New Zealand, South Africa and Afghanistan, The Hundred, Abu Dhabi T10, Caribbean Premier League, Pakistan Super League, SA20 and the Inter-Provincial Trophy for Northern Knights in Belfast.
Stirling’s match winning potential is obviously the major attraction but he is also very popular within the dressing room.
“Teams fear Sterlo, because if he bats a period of time he wins games,” Robinson added. “He’d have liked a few more last season, but the two games he did go big, we won. They were important games too.
“He’s incredibly popular in our changing room. He’s very low maintenance, but has a very astute cricket brain. He gets on well with everyone, including the youngest players within the squad.
Speaking about Maxwell, Robinson said, “Everyone speaks highly of Maxi on and off the pitch, although he will be different. He’ll be more full-on, driving things on and off the pitch, which will be good for us.
“Stirlo is more introverted, he’s quiet and goes about his business in a different way. All players are individuals and bring you something different which is exciting, but it’s important they fit into the culture we’re building.
While Stirling will be pencilled into the opening spot, the question of who replaces him at the top will be asked.
Robinson will have plenty of internal options to put their hand up and with the upcoming pre-season tour to South Africa, there will be an opportunity for those to impress.
Another alternative is Maxwell, who has opened in franchise leagues. Could the 360-hitting all-rounder find himself starting the powerplay?
“Maxi has opened recently and done well in that role, so we’ll have to see,” Robinson concluded. “We’ll need to look where we are and we have a couple of T20 matches in South Africa.
“We want players who can win games up and down the line-up, so we’ve got lucky with Maxi as he wasn’t originally on our radar. As soon as we knew he was available we were ready to strike. He’s had this injury, so he’s hungry to play and is looking forward to coming over.
“We believe we’re a good fit for him as he’s a match-winner around the world and hopefully he is for us too.”
Early Bird tickets for Vitality Blast on sale now
Early Bird tickets for this summer’s Vitality Blast are now on general sale, with prices starting from only £13.
Get tickets for £13 for the Bank Holiday game against Lancashire Lightning and from £17 for all other T20 games. But don’t wait too long, only 1,500 tickets are available for each match at this price.