Christmas for the England & Wales Cricket Board will be an uncomfortable count of birds returning to roost.
Particularly the pair named Troy Cooley and Tim Boon, bowling coach and team analyst respectively.
Cooley's return to the Australian coop caused undisguised consternation last week to England coach Duncan Fletcher, who was unaware that his fragile set of bowlers were in danger of having to resolve their own problems because of the way the relevant administrators dragging their feet in negotiations over a new contract last May.
Typically, last week's announcement from Lord's was a spin affair in which it was said that Cooley's family commitment Down Under was a big factor.
A quick denial from Cooley included a timetable since May which reflects little credit on the ECB, and explains why last week's announcement came as such a shock to Fletcher - "I didn't even know there was a problem."
He does now that Cooley has filled in the gaps.
"Had talks not dragged on between May and October, there would not have been an issue. I was offered a one-year deal and asked for two. The ECB never came back until a few weeks ago, by which time I had a three year offer from Australia.
"The ECB offer was an improved one including a rolling staff clause because a Board official said ' We were keen for him to go on beyond the 2007 World Cup.'"
But it was all too late. Cooley says: "There were two contracts on the table and I chose the other one. But if I'd been offered the two years from Lord's after my original two year agreement, we wouldn't be where we are now."
The tricky bit remains. How does Fletcher handle the remaining six months of Cooley's contract? He is scheduled to tour India with England, but does he stay inside the camp whose downfall he will plot next year in the Ashes series in Australia?
He and Fletcher might argue that professional integrity will override everything, but never before will a coach have been at the tactical heart of both camps just before a full five match series.
Just as important is to decide on Cooley's successor as soon as possible in order to get the wobbly Fletcher coaching train back on track. The wheels are nowhere near to becoming detached, but the tour of Pakistan has gone from bad to worse since the England batsmen threw away the first Test in Multan.
Injuries and paternity leave have exposed cracks in an England squad which were not apparent last summer.
Undeniably, Michael Vaughan's best side is a match for most, but the bowling department is suspect as soon as any one of five is missing. With a fit Simon Jones and Ashley Giles, the unit is a varied and complementary one with five different methods gelling perfectly to give the captain a multi-optioned choice under most conditions.
But the line between such self-sufficiency and the most pathetic performance imaginable in Karachi last Thursday is so thin as to be frightening with the World Cup in the West Indies only 15 months away. Fletcher has around 30 one-dayers to sort things out.
Steve Harmison bowled 26 overs for 176 runs in the first three ODIs against Pakistan, and shows little idea of varying length and line according to conditions.
Andrew Flintoff showed him the way in Karachi with a series of dead-eye yorkers towards the end of Pakistan's 353 for six. England actually conceded 103 in the last ten overs with Flint-off bowling two of them for nine.
James Anderson - the only bowler not to respond to the Cooley coaching - has been at an international cross-roads for over 12 months and simply cannot repeat anything at the crease for long.
Liam Plunkett is a L-plater and should be persevered with. Even in the one-day scene, Paul Collingwood is nothing more than a fill-in, and although Ian Blackwell does well enough with the ball, he is a fielding liability whose destructive batting at county level is rarely repeated against fast bowling.
The batsmen are not to blame for subsiding to 188 all out to equal their worst losing margin. It was entirely down to the bowlers who, Flintoff excepted, collapsed completely against the batting of
Abdul Razzaq and Shahid Afridi whose combined 82 runs came off 36 balls.
So to whom does Fletcher turn to follow Cooley and, just as important, when - now that the bowling coach becomes the second Australian to head for home after he and Rod Marsh have been at the heart of England during their glory years?
Harmison has gone for "Dazzler" Gough, the star of Strictly Come Dancing. This column is not the best place to extol his footwork on that programme, but he deserves maximum praise for what he put himself through during the last few weeks. It was a triumph of sheer guts and determination to avoid being publicly ridiculed, but it may have come a a high cost.
Any international future he might have as bowler or coach depends upon the answer to one question. Was he approached by the BBC before he told the selectors in September he did not want to tour Pakistan because of family reasons? If he had not, then he could still go to India.
Never mind his age, and never mind that he will be a year older in the World Cup in the Caribbean. You pick your best side for that competition and this correspondent would rather see his money defended by Gough at the end of an innings than any other England bowler except Flintoff.
He sniffs out match situations and batting weaknesses better than most and it would be a waste if he stayed at home to concentrate on that other form of quickstep.
Unless, that is, he did mislead David Graveney & Co three months ago.
Boon's probable departure is not so important. He has coached at all junior England levels before becoming batting coach to the full England squad. Born in Yorkshire, the 45-year-old batted for Leicestershire for 15 years and is now likely to succeed James Whitaker at Grace Road as Director of Cricket.
His analytical role for Fletcher is crucial in pre-match planning, but any decent computer operator can be programmed to provide the ball-by-ball breakdown of a full day's play.
The worrying aspect of Cooley's departure is two-fold. The delay in concluding negotiations and the fact that Fletcher appeared to have been kept in ignorance of the growing problem.
It looks like a lack of communication in ECB-speak - in other words, a huge stuff-up of the smelly sort usually associated with birds returning to roost. ..SUPL: