Warwickshire's Ian Bell is the first casualty of the England tour of Pakistan.
Literary confirmation of this comes from Ernest Hemingway's famous filched quotation from John Donne about "for whom the bell tolls" and not the player's county bard, William Shakespeare.
Bell's omission from the side which began the tour's final three-day warm up game in Lahore yesterday means that he can justifiably be asked: "Ask not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee."
The pathetic pre-lunch collapse in Lahore yesterday makes it even more unlikely that Bell will play in the first Test, because coach Duncan Fletcher spelled out that the balance of the side means the Warwickshire youngster is in for a tour spent on the sidelines.
"If we go in for two spinners, we believe that, with three seamers in this heat on flat pitches, we'll be asking ' Freddie' Flintoff, Steve Harmison and Matthew Hoggard to do quite a lot. Playing Paul Collingwood as the extra seamer may be a way of lightening their load, " he explained.
"Because we think Collingwood can do a job at No 5, someone has to go and Bell is the one we are looking at."
Fletcher has also been unusually forthcoming in critical fashion about some of his batsmen, who were embarrassed again yesterday under the sort of seamerfriendly conditions not uncommon in county cricket.
The problem, of course, is that no England cricketer plays any county cricket nowadays and they only play on truer surfaces in Test cricket.
Fletcher was only prepared to name one batsman, Kevin Pietersen, about whom he said: "He just has to be careful. He's come on to the scene quickly and has to make sure that, when certain situations arise, he can handle them. My remarks about one or two others have been taken out of context."
Now there is a surprise in this modern world of quotes and more quotes, off which the media feed in frenzied fashion.
Fletcher has always been so careful in his years as coach to keep the media at arms length, almost to the point of non-cooperation, but his guard was pierced if these were his comments - even if they were taken out of context.
"One batsman has a bad technique, another has an unsatisfactory work ethic and another too much baggage," he said.
The tour could hardly have got off to a more unsatisfactory start on the field and these early rumbles suggest that it is going to be a long, tough slog for the next seven weeks, into which 20 days of international cricket will be crammed.
Bell is now, more or less, history for the three-Test series which begins in Multan on Saturday and for two reasons.
The balance of the England side has changed because of Simon Jones. Fletcher and captain Michael Vaughan know that James Anderson is simply not up to playing in a Test and he should not have been selected for the tour.
He was called up for the summer's final Test at The Oval, but never had the slightest chance of playing, so his fragile confidence was dealt another blow.
The Lancashire lad will thus sit out another series, unless there is a rash of injuries, because Fletcher has already indicated England will pick Harmison, Hoggard, Flintoff and Ashley Giles, plus second spinner Shaun Udal and make- up seamer Paul Collingwood.
All the signs were there last week in Rawalpindi when Bell's No 4 position - unchanged during an Ashes series in which he averaged 17 - was filled by Kevin Pietersen and, more importantly, he was supplanted at forward short leg, from where he picked up several smart catches in the summer.
His two low scores did not help, but the fielding shift tolled that bell for Bell. Whatever the result in Multan, a three-match series offers him little chance of playing in the other two Tests because of Fletcher's understandable continuity policy, in which he keeps faith with his captain and his preferences.
Udal becomes the key figure in a series in which patience is all. The Ashes series was a toe-to-toe exchange of bullets and hand grenades - the next month will be more like a tug o' war with feet and inches conceded grudgingly.
The winter climate will make outright wins difficult to obtain. Dew is a factor at the beginning and end of each day's play, as is the daylight which makes the required minimum of 90 overs a day impossible to achieve. I expect few more than 80 overs a day, which makes a result that more difficult to obtain.
No matter what the management say, England start the series seriously undercooked.
They fought back in the Ashes series after the first Test thrashing by attacking relentlessly, but that is not possible in Pakistan.
They have to grind it out because the Flintoff and Pietersen cavalry cannot ride to the rescue, as they did for four Tests in front of magnificent capacity crowds in full throat.
Only a few England supporters will be there and not even the Barmy Army will be able to overcome the lack of alcohol needed to keep their vocal chords in working order.
Boredom is the biggest opponent, hence the decision by the party to grow moustaches before the first Test.
This tour is the one above all others to sort out any possible member of the awkward squad, because there is nowhere to hide.
It is all for one, as has already happened in the last two years in West Indies and South Africa, together with a similar bonding at home made possible because of central contracts which allow only a minimum of appearances for the players' counties.
The Ashes series has gone. This is much tougher, because the demands are so different.