Paul Collingwood has shelved plans for retirement and team-mates John Hastings and Scott Borthwick could join him in returning to Durham in 2015.
Leg-spinner Borthwick is also expected to agree a new contract, while the Riversiders are hopeful a relaxation in the rules will allow them to bring back overseas player Hastings.
Captain Collingwood had expected to retire at the end of the season, and spoke openly about the possibility this time last year. But a winter coaching England and Scotland has revitalised him and improved his own game.
“I had presumed this was going to be my last season but I’m really enjoying my cricket and feel as though I’m still contributing to the team,” said the 38-year-old former England limited overs captain.
“You’re a long time retired and I’ve still got ambitions to take this team forward.
“It really is a special group of guys to be involved with and I don’t want to give that up too early.
“There is a bigger picture as well which is about having another year to try and create a culture that will hopefully be around for another five to 10 years. I’m certain that the backbone of this side, with the youngsters coming through, will be strong for years to come.”
Although only captain in the County Championship, Collingwood has played in all formats, and has performed best in the Royal London Cup, where he has been crucial to Durham reaching the quarter-finals. They play Yorkshire at Headingley on Thursday.
He averages 68 with the bat and 21 with the ball in the 50-over competition.
Hastings has also been an influential all-rounder in all formats. He tops Durham’s Championship bowling and Twenty20 batting averages, and is second in the T20 bowling charts.
Under current regulations the Australian will be ineligible to appear as an overseas player next season unless he plays a Test or 15 limited-overs games for his country this winter. Those rules, though, are expected to change this winter.
“At the moment the rules state a player must have played one Test or 15 limited-overs internationals (Twenty20 or 50-over) in the last two years,” Lewis explained.
“But they’re looking at relaxing those rules for people who have a previous contract with a county, and if they do that, he could rejoin us regardless.
“He could still play again for Australia this winter, though. I wouldn’t rule that out.”
With the last of his international appearances in August 2011, Hastings would need to play 15 white-ball matches or a Test to requalify under the present rules. His only Test cap came in November 2012.
Australia are due to play 22 one-day internationals, four Twenty20 internationals and six Tests before the second phase of the 2015 World Cup, which they are joint hosts of.
Hastings will miss the last two Championship matches because Chennai Super Kings have called him up for next month’s Champions League. Hastings only played once in the Indian Premier League season, but Lewis said: “He feels he will play. There are a couple of players who played ahead of him in the IPL who will be missing.”
Ben Hilfenhaus will play instead for Hobart Hurricanes, who have also qualified for the global tournament.
England have not picked Borthwick since his first Test appearance, at Sydney in the New Year Test, and although his batting has improved to the point where he ought to be close to consideration for that alone, the reality is he needs more bowling to push into contention.
He has bowled 168 Championship overs this season – reasonable considering he cracked two fingers on his bowling hand during it – and when asked about his contract situation, he told The Journal: “I’m a Durham boy and I want to stay at Durham.”
Mark Stoneman, Keaton Jennings, Phil Mustard, Graham Onions, Mark Wood, Jamie Harrison, Usman Arshad and Chris Rushworth have all signed contract extensions in the last 12 months.