Ray Price, Murray Goodwin and Martin van Jaarsveldt are three cricketers from Southern Africa, whose presence in England this year is the tip of an iceberg on which the entire fabric of domestic cricket could well be ripped apart.
The already vexed question of cricketers from abroad has defeated the best intentions of administrators for over 30 years. The lawyers have become increasingly involved until they now rule the roost as never before.
Unless the England & Wales Cricket Board mount a legal challenge based on the overall interests of county cricket, the first class counties will be nothing more than 18 lemmings, leaping over the precipice to destruction.
Price, Goodwin and van Jaarsveldt represent a new breed of cricketers who, in exchange for a lucrative contract with a county, will give up any chance of furthering their international career by joining the Kolpak army.
Over 30 players have shoved the door open in the last few years, following a court case won in Germany by a would-be professional handball player who challenged the sort of restriction on imports imposed on English cricket since 1968.
The court decision in his favour was reached because his country has trade links with the European community, and so the floodgates are now open officially. Counties can now pot-hunt to the nth degree and keep supporters happy - never mind the draining effect it will have on the national team.
Countries such as South Africa and several of the islands that make up the West Indies have the necessary trade links and both are dripping with "nearly cricketers" whose Test future is not guaranteed and now have an uninhibited entry into county cricket. And a well-paid one.
Price and Goodwin from Zimbabwe had the option to re-join Heath Streak and the other rebels who went on strike a year ago because of the unacceptable policies of their national body.
Instead, they will continue to play for Worcestershire and Sussex in addition to the two official overseas players allowed. As will van Jaarsveldt who should still be fighting for a regular place in the South African side and was until Kent joined the stampede to ensure that there will only ever be one winner in the club-country battle.
The counties pay lip service to their duty of developing young England- qualified cricketers, but most of the 18 will gladly use Kolpak players.
Last year there were 60 non-England qualified cricketers (in categories varying from official overseas to Kolpak and 'passport of convenience') in county cricket.
Many members love it, because they refuse to square a circle in which they are asked to support a mainly England-qualified team in order to maintain a steady flow of players good enough to play Test cricket.
The ECB is doing nothing more than fiddling with the edge of the problem by trying to give a financial incentive to those counties who field a more English side than others.
Future sanctions start at around £50,000 per club. The idea is to increase them, but even a triple increase has to be put into the context of each club's annual shareout from the pot.
It is around £1.3 million, without which the clubs with under 4,000 members would not be able to try to compete for overseas players with big contracts.
It is a particularly vicious circle in which the bigger clubs keep their heads above water but smaller counties can only gurgle. Warwickshire's accounts show an ECB shareout of £1.433 million exclusive of international staging fees and ticket sales.
The annual wage bill for 2004 was £1.415 million, including bonuses which were not significantly higher than 2003 despite winning the championship.
What would be significant would be a breakdown of the wages paid to those first-team players who are not qualified for England, compared with those who are. Of equal significance would be a statement of how much has to be spent on flights, accommodation and the other peripherals needed to lure an overseas cricketer.
All counties should be made to divulge that information to their membership, but there is as much chance as a county fielding an all English team this season.
Low flying pigs; fairies at the bottom of a garden; anyone in power resigning voluntarily on a point of principle; and a fairer consideration of the interests of the cricket public by authorities the world over.
All four scenarios are virtually impossible, but are still more likely than a county confessing how much money it is wasting on players who offer nothing to the national team.
Listen to the silence. It will deafen you.