The alarm bells about the fitness of the England bowlers are not just gently tinkling, they are clanging loudly - even though the first Ashes Test at Lord's is 38 days away.
Ashley Giles has a hip problem which may need surgery, and both Steve Harmison and Matthew Hoggard have sustained left ankle injuries.
That leaves Andrew Flintoff and Simon Jones as the only fully fit pair out of England's best five-man attack; Flintoff has confessed he is short of sufficient work to test the full recovery of the operation on his ankle three months ago, and Jones has yet to stay fit throughout a full season.
Regarding Giles, Harmison and Hoggard, it is hardly coincidental that their respective injuries have come after the most intensive spells of bowling in County cricket in April and May they have ever had since central contracts were introduced five years ago. This workload was followed by two back-to-back Tests against Bangladesh for Harmison and Hoggard.
The problem is for the England management that left ankle stress injuries are the most serious for right-handed fast bowlers, and those to Harmison and Hoggard have apparently gradually developed, rather than resulting from a twist or tear of ligaments.
The spin from both players and the medical staff is depressingly familiar, "No real problem and should be fit in a few days."
Really? If the discomfort has come from the workload in the first few weeks of the season, then rest will certainly cure it even though a resumption of bowling means it is only when, not if, the condition recurs.
Harmison has already had the dreaded cortisone injection - ask Flintoff and Giles about the needle which injects the masking agent - and Hoggard said that his niggle started in the Riverside Test and worsened in last week's Roses battle.
For the umpteenth time in this column, it is worth pointing out that bowling fitness is like no other in sport. It is unnatural and puts the body through all sorts of rotational contortions in which the top and bottom halves operate in opposite directions. When the shoulders and head are wound up backwards at the start of the delivery stride, the legs are driving forward.
Joints come under immense stress and any unusual angle of ankle, hip or shoulder will inevitably force a bodily protest. Only the best grooved actions survive over the years - Fred Trueman, Richard Hadlee and Glenn McGrath for instance, but England possess all too few "well oiled" bowling actions.
Flintoff has already had two operations in four years, and now Harmison and Hoggard are experiencing their first creaks. The Australian summer effectively starts tonight with a Twenty20 game at the Rosebowl - England's first game in this format and Australia's second.
Neither Giles nor Hoggard are in the one day squad and there is no need to play Harmison in the first one or two of 11 one-day jumpabouts in the next four weeks.
A lengthy rest might bring both fast bowlers free of pain to the Lord's Test in late July, but what good will that be with the five-match series crushed into a 54-day period?
The England cricketers are being put under the virtually intolerable handicap of the worst itinerary in living memory, and their chances of making the Ashes series a close one are fading fast.
Ricky Ponting admitted that another considerable advantage for his side is the intelligence on tap about England cricketers from Shane Warne, Brad Hodge and Simon Katich gathered during their stints this summer in County cricket. The authorities could hardly have done more to help Australia and all in the name of commerce. Shame on them.
The domestic Twenty20 jamboree is just around the corner - Graham Thorpe and Ian Bell must be looking forward to that - and Kevin Pietersen is already under a level of expectation not exceeded since Graeme Hick's debut in 1991.
Somehow, the selectors have complicated the issue regarding Bell, Robert Key and Pietersen. They did not pick Bell for South Africa, deciding that Key had earned their loyalty. That was a mistake, compounded when Bell played in the one-day series, but only as a batting irrelevance behind Pietersen.
Also the Warwickshire batsman did not bowl a single over, despite his useful efforts for his county and also despite England being hammered after being stuck-in nearly every game.
A more ruthless set of selectors would have taken Bell for the five-day series ahead of Key and would then have picked Pietersen against Bangladesh. Irrespective of what he does in the one-dayers, he is unlikely to play in the first Ashes Test as Clive Rice, former manager and coach of Pietersen at Trent Bridge said: "I can see what'll happen. He will play later in the series when England are two or three nil down and that will be a waste."
The future for the series is not bright. Giles is unlikely to be fit and now there are worries about Harmison and Hoggard. Bowlers win matches, but they do need sufficient runs in the bank to do so.
The selectors have taken the easy way out regarding Key and Bell, and the time it takes to work Pietersen in might prove to be too late.