Moeen Ali looks set to leave Warwickshire after Worcestershire made an official approach for him.
The 19-year-old, who graduated through the Warwickshire youth sides to captain the England Under-19 side in the World Cup, is regarded as one of the most talented teenagers in the game. Only a few of weeks ago Bishan Bedi remarked that Moeen should be playing for the full England team within a couple of years.
Moeen is a young man in a hurry. He has lost patience with Warwickshire after what he perceives as a lack of first team opportunities. He points to the selection of Alistair Cook, just two years older, in the England team, while his friend from England Under-19s, Varun Chopra, is regularly opening the batting for Essex.
He may have a point. Despite making 50 on firstclass debut at Fenner's last year, he was dropped from the side and did not make another first team appearance all season.
His Championship debut came at Trent Bridge this May. Despite top-scoring in the first innings with 68 he was again dropped before the next game. By contrast Ian Westwood, another talented local lad who has progressed through the ranks, has had nine innings this season without passing 27.
Moeen, who is out of contract at the end of the season, is also unhappy with his opportunities in the seconds. While he was deemed an exceptional captain at the World Cup, he has been passed over for the likes of Nick Warren, Navdeep Poonia and Luke Parker as leader of the seconds.
The fact that Moeen is a target of Worcestershire is intriguing on another account. His desire to play first team cricket suggests that has been all but guaranteed him at New Road which would, in turn, suggest that Worcestershire are making plans for Graeme Hick's retirement at the end of this season.
Worcestershire will not be the only county bidding for Moeen's services. Somerset are also interested, while Warwickshire are likely to offer him another deal. However, it is hard to see him staying at Edgbaston. At his appraisal last week Moeen was told he was seen as being a first team regular within five years; there is little prospect of him waiting.
To add fuel to the fire, The Post understands that Naqaash Tahir is increasingly disillusioned with life at Edgbaston. He has, in the past, complained to club management that he has felt ostracised at Edgbaston and could be set to follow Moeen's exit route at the end of the season.
It would be simplistic to claim this is a race-relations issue. Moeen is, in part, the victim of the club's depth in batting. One of the men who has kept him out of the team is also Asian, Navdeep Poonia, while the youth teams are fully reflective of the city's multi-cultural character.
He must also reflect that he has not scored as heavily in second team cricket as he could have done.
There are also legitimate reasons for Naqaash's lack of first team appearances this season. Despite an excellent start to his career in 2004, he has struggled to remain fit ever since. However his relationship with the club's fitness and conditioning coach has become increasingly strained.
Yet Moeen and Naqaash certainly represent the cream of the club's youth policy over the last few years. To see them, and the likes of Graham Wagg, plying their trade for other counties will smart for years to come.
Their departure would also send quite the wrong message to the Asian community in Birmingham. Though the club has done much to alter its image, the perception persists that it is not as inclusive or welcoming as it could be.
The quickest way to mend such misconceptions - for that is what they are - is to provide heroes from their own backgrounds for Asian children to admire and support. Kabir Ali could have been such a man; so could Moeen and Naqaash. Their departures would set back the club's race relations progress by a generation.
It is time for the question to be asked as to why Warwickshire are seemingly failing to make the most of the enormous pool of talent on their doorstep.
The potential loss of Moeen - and it's worth remembering that he hasn't gone yet - is a hammer blow to the the director of cricket, Mark Greatbatch. While supporters may reluctantly accept that the prospect of capturing any silverware is receding for this year, there will be alarm that the club's future is also being squandered.
Greatbatch's ship has been listing for some time. He has lost the confidence of more than a few of the players and presided over the worst run of results the club has endured for many years. For the first time, his position is looking precarious.