Warwickshire are seeking clarification from the England and Wales Cricket Board's position after it emerged that counties could face censure if their players take part in the 'rebel' Indian Cricket League (ICL).
The ECB, attempting to support their counterparts in the Indian Board of Control, have suggested to the counties that their participation in the Champions League at the end of the 2008 season could be jeopardised if they allow their players to participate in the breakaway tournament.
It has also been suggested that the national selectors will take a dim view of any player taking part in the rebel league. Warwickshire currently have two players signed up for the competition: captain Darren Maddy and Irish fast bowler Boyd Rankin.
The legality of the ECB's threats appears highly dubious, however. Not only are none of the players concerned tied to ECB central contracts but most county contracts cover only the summer months.
Nor is the ECB's position only questionable from a legal standpoint. It is also somewhat
ironic. Only a few weeks ago they appointed Mike Gatting to oversee the first-class and recreational game in England. Gatting led a 'rebel' tour of England players to South Africa during the apartheid years and was subsequently banned. Chairman of selectors, David Graveney, was also on that tour in 1990.
Indeed, it appears the ECB have already softened their stance after pressure from the Professional Cricketers' Association; the players' union. It now appears that anyone who signed up for the League before October 18 will not face any 'punishment'. By such criteria Maddy would be cleared but Paul Nixon - and perennial Twenty20 over-achievers Leicestershire - may be barred from the most lucrative tournament in domestic cricket.
The Champions League, set up to counteract the threat of the 'rebel' ICL, which conflicts with the Indian domestic schedule, promises to be by far the most lucrative competition ever open to county sides.
The two best sides from domestic Twenty20 cricket in England, South Africa, Australia and India will compete for a first prize of $1m, with television revenue expected to bring large sums to the county sides involved. The ICL is due to start in India later this month.
Meanwhile, discussions over Dougie Brown's future at Edgbaston continue. There was a view from some that Alex Loudon's retirement might open the door for a return to the playing staff for Brown but the club have ruled out that scenario. Though Warwickshire want to retain Brown's playing registration, he has not been offered a playing contract.
Instead, Warwickshire hope that Brown will take on a coaching role. They would like him to oversee a 'finishing school' for those players in between the Academy and the first team at the club.
Warwickshire's record at that level has been grim in recent seasons: the county under-19 side has won only once in the last three years, with the under-17s little better. Warwickshire believe that a man of Brown's pedigree can add tactical and technical expertise in order to better prepare young men for the step-up to first-team cricket.
Brown is keen to continue his playing career. He is considering an offer from Essex, that would involve a dual role as player and bowling coach, and believes he has "unfinished business" on the pitch.
Warwickshire feel the Scot is warming to the idea of the Edgbaston position, however. He is not thought likely to take the role of Scotland coach.
The ECB are considering proposals to allow two overseas players per county in next season's Twenty20 Cup.
The marketing-led initiative comes from Hampshire, who feel that two overseas players would help sustain a wider public interest in the game.
"There's a lot of focus on international cricket these days," Hampshire's chairman, Rod Bransgrove said, "and this would help promote the county game."
The ECB had previously decided to limit counties to one overseas player in all domestic competitions.