How do you solve a problem which deprives you of the likes of Andrew Strauss and Owais Shah for most of the 2009 season?
That was the first conundrum facing Angus Fraser this week as he took on his new role as Middlesex director of cricket.
Any hopes the former county stalwart had of slipping quietly into his post at the home of cricket were dashed from the moment England captain Kevin Pietersen and coach Peter Moores opted to air their dirty laundry in public earlier this month.
Pietersen's resignation and Moores' sacking led to Strauss being named England captain in all forms of the game.
This ruled the opener out of Middlesex's plans, and with Shah easing his way up the England pecking order as well as being sought after for the Indian Premier League, Fraser has had to come up with a plan B.
And the former fast bowler, capped 46 times by England, confirmed an unnamed overseas batsman should be arriving shortly to help the quest for runs.
He said: "When we first talked about the new season it looked as if Andrew would be involved some of the time because he wasn't due to play one-day cricket, but that's not the case now.
"And even if Owais wasn't in the test side, you've got the IPL, so he's not going to be available until the end of the World Twenty20 in late June.
"With Ed Joyce and Ed Smith also gone we've had to contemplate bringing in an overseas batsman for the first six weeks of the season until Murali Kartik returns.
"Negotiations with the player concerned are quite advanced and should be concluded in a week or so, and we're delighted with who we've got."
Fraser, who took 886 first class wickets during 18 years as a player with Middlesex, will oversee not only the first XI, but also league and school cricket in the county as part of his role.
And despite a hectic first week at Lord's, the former journalist at The Independent is happy to be on the other side of the desk.
He added: "It's a bit strange being the person interviewed rather than being the journalist.
"But at least you know at this end when you've put the phone down it's finished and done with.
"You haven't got to transcribe the quotes and try and turn them into a story."