Sussex captain Chris Adams admitted he was a relieved man knowing he would have Pakistan leg-spinner Mushtaq Ahmed back in his side this season.
Mushtaq took 90 first-class wickets for Sussex last season at a low average of just over 25 apiece as the south coast club were crowned county champions.
The Pakistani also notched up a century of dismissals when the side first won the title five years ago.
But his return to he English game had been put under threat by his involvement in the unauthorised Indian Cricket League. However, after talks between the Pakistan Cricket Board and their English counterparts, the popular 37-year-old will be on his way back to Hove.
Adams, speaking at Lord's on Monday at the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) launch of the new dometsic season, said of his Mushtaq: "His return in the Championship in the last five seasons has been simply incredible.
"Most cricketers get through a career and don't get as many wickets as he has got so it is unbelievable.
"Mushy's contribution on the field has been immense but his contribution off it is huge as well.
"He's a great ambassador for the club and is hugely respected within the camp. "But I would like to think it is not just a one-man show and he relies just as much on the rest of the team.
"I think he gets as much out of us as we do out of him."
Sussex will be bidding for a third straight title but Adams, who saw Mushtaq also take a hundred wickets in the 2006 season, said he expected a close race.
"It is really difficult to predict who is going to win what this time round, and hence why I'm not going to even try to do so - it really is that close.
"There will be a lot of teams looking at all the competitions and thinking 'this could be our year'.
"You only have to look at the likes of Somerset, who were excellent under Justin Langer (the former Australia batsman) to win promotion in the Championship Division Two last year, to know that a number of teams are in with a shout in the Championship in particular."
Sussex begin the defence of their title away to local rivals Hampshire on April 16.