Alan Richardson says it is “a huge boost” to have Pakistan star batter Azhar Ali available for Worcestershire Rapids Royal London Cup campaign.

Azhar flew back on Saturday evening from Pakistan’s two-Test series in Sri Lanka and had a net session before Worcestershire's win over Herefordshire at Eastnor.

The opener will now join up with the Rapids as they begin their campaign, which started on Tuesday at New Road against Kent Spitfires.

Azhar was originally scheduled to only play red-ball cricket for Worcestershire this season in the LV=Insurance County Championship, but will now look to help the Pears as they go in search of some cup glory.

Assistant Coach Richardson, who is overseeing the competition with Kadeer Ali, said: "Azhar was really keen to play in the One-Day Cup so we took that opportunity and it is a huge boost.

"Someone of his experience and ability, to have him in and around the squad will be a fantastic opportunity for the guys to feed off him as much as possible.

"You are always looking for your overseas player to make as much impact as possible. You can’t guarantee that their performances on the field are always going to be what they want.

"But what they can give you, the non-negotiables for me is that impact off the field and Azhar has been absolutely fantastic at that."

Worcestershire are in Group B of the competition and will make the trip to Hampshire on Friday after their clash with Kent.

They end the week with a trip to Yorkshire on Sunday.