The chances of Warwickshire's replacement overseas player, South Africa pace bowler Makhaya Ntini, being available until the end of the season were increased yesterday because of doubts over the viability of the Afro-Asia one-day series.
It would appear that television companies are hardly falling over themselves to buy the rights to broadcast the series, which is scheduled to be held in late August.
As the entire raison d'etre of the series was to make money, the lack of interest throws the whole event into doubt. Even if it does go ahead it is increasingly unlikely that the various cricket boards will insist that all their leading players take part.
Warwickshire travel to Canterbury today to contest a floodlit totesport League Division Two match against Kent knowing that victory would put them level on points with Sussex, the leaders.
True, Warwickshire will have played two more matches than Sussex and their rivals' run-rate is far superior. But another victory will leave them wellplaced to secure promotion.
After starting their campaign with only two victories from five matches, that is an admirable change of fortunes.
The form-book is promising. Warwickshire have won five in a row in this competition - indeed, they are unbeaten since the debacle against Scotland - while Kent are in the bottom three.
Captain Nick Knight must also be looking forward to the match. He has already recorded three centuries against Kent this season, though his bowling attack is immeasurably weakened by the loss of Heath Streak. The return of Ian Bell and Ashley Giles has made Streak's involvement as a specialist batsman unnecessary.
It is unlikely that Streak will avoid Test duty in Zimbabwe after the New Zealand government passed a motion calling on New Zealand Cricket to cancel the tour. They also asked the International Cricket Council to suspend all tours to Zimbabwe "while gross human rights abuses continue." They stopped short of making the tour illegal, however, leaving their actions little more than symbolic. The team is already in Namibia, the first leg of their tour.
Kent's dire one- day form is puzzling. They lead the Championship and look to have a side well-suited to both forms of the game. Yet they have lost 11 of their last 12 oneday matches and have won only three in this league this season. The inclusion of fast-medium bowler Robert Joseph for the first time this season is unlikely to provide a magic solution.
Warwickshire's Second XI Trophy semi- final against Sussex will be staged at Knowle and Dorridge CC on Monday, August 8, the fifth and final day of the second Test match at Edgbaston.