Warwickshire spin-bowler Chris Metters has suffered more rotten luck after it emerged that surgery on his injured shoulder last year has not corrected the problem.
After missing all of last season following an operation, Metters was progressing well this winter with a view to returning to the first-team squad as cover for No.1 spinner Jeetan Patel.
After a long rehabilitation programme he was back bowling again in the Indoor Centre at last.
But then the 22-year-old reported some discomfort still in the joint. An injection failed to clear the problem so further exploration is required and Metters had another operation yesterday.
If all goes well this time, he could be back bowling again in two or three months but will certainly be unavailable to the Bears early in the season as back-up to Patel. It is very tough on Torquay-born Metters who made a surprise entry into first-team cricket for Warwickshire, aged just 20, in 2011.
He took six for 65 on his debut at home to Worcestershire and, pitched in to lead the spin attack way ahead of schedule, acquitted himself well before a niggling shoulder impingement surfaced the following winter.
Paul Best will be around as cover for Patel early in the season but Warwickshire need the Kiwi fit and available so have been boosted by confirmation this week that he should be with them in time for the start of the season.
Patel recently confirmed to the club that his visa application appears to be going smoothly.
Warwickshire will be hoping that, in the early weeks of the season, Patel strikes the rather delicate balance of bowling well enough to win some matches for his county but not quite well enough to earn another call-up by his country, who will be touring England in the summer.
Meanwhile, the Bears are settling into their pre-season stay in Barbados. All available senior players have made the trip and the party also includes three youngsters with much to gain.
Wicketkeeper Peter McKay, from Walmley CC and a product of the Bears’ academy, will get opportunities to impress behind the stumps over the next fortnight while Tim Ambrose continues his recovery from a shoulder operation.
Batsmen Freddie Coleman and Sam Hain will also bed into the senior squad.
Coleman, a 21-year-old Scot who has been awarded an incremental contract by his country, has been offered a summer contract by the Bears.
Highly-rated 17-year-old Hain is under contract already at Edgbaston but, having played for Australia Under-19s, his registration situation, and therefore his availability to Warwickshire, will not become clear until a hearing takes place at Lord’s on April 4.
Director of cricket, Dougie Brown, insists there is “a lot of finding out to be done,” on the tour.
The Bears have a two-day practice match against Hampshire and the tour culminates in the Barbados T20. In the latter they face Derbyshire on March 16 when victory would take them into the ‘finals day’ the following day.
If Brown’s side go all the way and win the T20 tournament late on March 17, they won’t have much time to celebrate. They return to Birmingham next day and, after one night at home, then travel east for the champion county v MCC fixture in Abu Dhabi.
It is an unprecedentedly busy March schedule and the Abu Dhabi trip has meant that Warwickshire’s customary visit to Barbados has been truncated with a two-day game lost.
But as the Bears prepare to defend their championship title, the competition is fierce for places in the team for the opener against Derbyshire at Edgbaston starting on April 10.