Worcestershire Director Of Cricket Steve Rhodes is encouraged by the news regarding 2017 overseas signing John Hastings' knee surgery and is optimistic he will be available next summer sooner than initially anticipated.

Rhodes was originally looking at plans to bring in a replacement for the first half of the camaign after Hastings suffered a patella tendon setback playing Sheffield Cricket cricket for Victoria.

But the operation on Friday was successful and although Rhodes is "not counting our chickens" he is hopeful Australian all-rounder Hastings will be available sooner rather than later if the rehab goes to plan.

Rhodes said: "John had the operation on Friday and the surgeon was delighted with the outcome.

"They removed a chipped bone and are very pleased with the state of his knee.

"We know now that if the rehab work goes well, John will be available a lot sooner again to play more cricket for Worcestershire than had been originally anticipated.

"The best possible scenario is John manages to be available for the first game of the season in April – but we are not counting our chickens as it might be slightly later than that.

"What it does do is affect our search for an overseas replacement in coming at things from a different angle – ie having an overseas bowler on standby and, as we get nearer to the season and we know where John is in his recovery, we will know what we need."

Rhodes pulled off a major coup in initially signing Hastings for the entire 2017 campaign and to still have his services for a sizeable chunk of the season would be a massive boost.