Worcestershire are bracing themselves to lose star overseas batsman Phil Jaques for a third time this summer.
The Australian opener, who reported late for duty at the start of the English season after going on his honeymoon, is due to return Down Under on June 24 to spend a month representing his country's A team.
Following his scheduled return to England on July 27, however, it seems certain that he will be called away within a few weeks, - this time to an Australian training camp in August.
Worcestershire have covered for this third period of absence by agreeing an extension to the deal they have signed with Jaques' temporary replacement, 27-year-old New Zealand batsman Lou Vincent.
They will have Vincent signed up until the end of August, but he will be available to play for the county only as cover while Jaques is actually on international duty.
If Jaques, one of the Australian Cricket Board's centrally-contracted players, suffers an injury or becomes unavailable for any other reason, the regulations would not allow Worcestershire to turn to Vincent as cover in any more matches outside his already stipulated stand-in period.
Mark Newton, the Worcestershire chief executive, said last night: "If Phil is called to the Australian training camp, which we think he will be as a contracted player, then we have agreed for Lou to stay on until the end of August."
Having already lost the services of another centrally-contracted Australian player in Nathan Bracken before the start of the season and with fears hanging over them regarding Zaheer Khan given the form he has been in, the New Road club look set to get their fingers burnt again.
But so difficult has become the task of trying to pin down decent overseas players to a full season in English county cricket that it is hardly a surprise that Worcestershire are expected to be amont those in favour of a plan to reduce their number from two to one from 2008.
Already, this proposal seems certain to be voted in, with few dissenting voices having been heard at an early informal discussion stage.
Newton said: "I have to admit I have changed my mind dramatically in the last year to 18 months on this subject.
"I had always previously been in favour of two overseas players, rather than one but most countries now have central contracts in force and that means, contractually speaking, they call the shots. They have the right to demand the use of players whenever they want, which is clearly not to our advantage."
With less and less control over foreign players, who have so many increased calls on their time from their countries, their value for money at county level is also clearly lessening. That has led to a difference in the profile of player being attracted.
Newton said: "Although contracted overseas players can still find very lucrative deals over here, they can only come over with their country's permission.
"There is still the door open for somebody like [Australian pace bowler] Andy Bichel, whose international stature actually grew as a result of his first successful season with us.
"But it also means that the market is perhaps becoming a more appealing one for those who have either retired from international cricket, or those who are on their way up the ladder."