Warwickshire may be looking for a new overseas player after Monde Zondeki was called up by South Africa.
The fast bowler has replaced Charl Langeveldt in the team to tour India and will miss the first championship game (against Worcestershire) at least.
Zondeki could also be selected for the South African tour of England (July to September), a development which would drastically reduce his availability for Warwickshire.
It was hardly the ideal news for Warwickshire’s director of cricket, Ashley Giles, who was celebrating his 35th birthday on Wednesday.
"We sort of expected it," Giles said. "But it won’t necessarily change a lot. He will miss the opening game and then we’ll have to wait to see if he is selected in their squad to tour England.
"We haven’t signed anybody else [as a contingency], but we will have to start thinking about other options now."
In the worst case scenario, however, South Africa will not allow Zondeki to play any county cricket. If he performs well in India — and the fact that the squad is only 14 strong suggests he will have every opportunity — then he may be rested until the tour of England. As Warwickshire’s only bowler of pace, his absence would have a large negative effect on any promotion challenge.
Zondeki owes his opportunity, indirectly, to the quota policies of the South African cricket board.
The board insists that there must be at least six ‘players of colour’ in a 14-man squad.
That meant that Andre Nel was dropped for the inferior Langeveldt in the squad tour to India. Nel was furious and has hinted he may retire from international cricket, while Langeveldt was embarrassed to be selected under such circumstances and withdrew from the tour.
"As players we all have a good idea of when we are clearly in the running for selection and when we aren’t," he said yesterday. "You just have to look at Andre’s Test record compared to mine and the fact that he has been part of all the Test match plans while I haven’t played a Test match for two years.
"I have always fought for a place in the team but I don’t want to be put there because of my colour. Up to now I have been very happy in my role in the ODI team and I know my value there. I’m quite upset by this now and I’m going to need a bit of time to consider my future."
SACA chief executive officer Tony Irish added: "Charl Langeveldt’s request to be removed from the squad to tour India is the desperate unhappiness of a player who knows that he has been selected for this tour for quota reasons.
"Charl spoke to both Gerald Majola and to me yesterday to say that he was so upset that he did not feel that he could give his best for South Africa on the tour under these circumstances."
Nel revealed he felt for Langeveldt over the selection controversy.
"I’m as upset for Langes as I am for myself," he said. "We are good team-mates and I have a lot of respect for him. We are both passionate about playing for South Africa and neither of us deserves to feel like this. It is hard to just shrug it all off."
Irish also called for Cricket South Africa president Norman Arendse to give up his right of veto over team selection.
He added: "Any form of veto, interference or involvement in the selection of the Proteas by anyone who is not a selector should be abolished.
"The Players’ Association recently made that recommendation to Cricket South Africa’s Transformation Review Committee relating to selection of the Proteas team.
"The players believe in the goals of transformation but all of them, black and white, are adamant that this should not be achieved by interfering in the selection of the national team.
"South Africa could be in the process of losing two of its best cricketers. Surely it’s time to realise that the selectors must be allowed to get on with selection of the team."