Indian Premier League games will be played in England within months if plans mooted by Indian businessmen come to fruition.
The Post understands that officials at Lord's, The Brit Oval and The Rose Bowl have already held preliminary discussions with IPL organisers about staging games in this country.
"There is some interest [in staging IPL games in England," Colin Povey, Warwickshire's chief executive, admitted last night. "We've not been approached directly, but some of the London boys have been. Of course we would have to listen if such an approach was made.
"It's not rocket science, is it? You would expect the IPL to be interested in the larger venues. Money tends to talk."
Furthermore, The Post understands that a partner-ship between Hampshire and one Indian team franchise almost certainly Rajasthan Royals has been mooted, with Indian businessmen looking to buy a stake of the 'business' in order to gain a foothold in the United Kingdom market. First-class counties could soon be twinned, or even taken-over, by Indian counterparts.
Indeed, it is likely that the somewhat surprising decision of Hampshire to allow Dimitri Mascarenhas and Shane Warne to join Rajasthan for the start of this season had its roots in just such a deal. It is surely relevant that Rose Bowl plc is not a members' club.
Members' clubs are not immune, however. Just as banks have bought out building societies, members clubs like Warwickshire could be targeted. Though any 'buy-out' would require members' approval, but the inducement of around £5,000 per member might ease the pain.
The speed of developments will shock many. Indeed, many county cricket followers still fail to understand that the world they knew last September has gone forever.
There are two main reasons for the speed of transition. The first is simply competition. The rival (and rebel) Indian Cricket League is pushing the IPL to move quicker, think bigger and spend more than anyone could have thought possible only months ago.
The second reason is the figures involved. They are vast. The IPL alone is worth around $2 billion. Such sums attract a new breed of businessman to the game; shrewder, hungrier and less respectful than cricket has seen since Kerry Packer. Cricket's old buffers never had a chance.
With the sand shifting beneath their feet, the England & Wales Cricket Board seem unwilling, or unable, to respond. They are still stalling over minor adaptations of this year's domestic Twenty20 competition, such as allowing more overseas players to participate. As the 'inventors' of Twenty20, the ECB had it within their grasp to create their own super league. Instead, they are in danger of being left behind.
In truth, the blend of former players and lightweight administrators that still run the game in this country have been revealed in all their poverty by this episode. They have had rings run round them.
Still, they prevaricate. While other leagues fall over themselves to capture the best players, the ECB tried to prevent top overseas players such as Shane Bond and Mushtaq Ahmed from playing county cricket this season. That Mushtaq, Murray Goodwin (both Sussex) and Naved Rana (Yorkshire) have now been cleared to play, suggests the ECB are, wonderfully, powerless to apply their own foolish policies.
The likes of Wavell Hinds (Derbyshire) and Bond are sure to appeal. To allow Mushtaq, an ICL 'rebel' to take part, but refuse others in the same position is manifestly unjust. Indeed, it's just not cricket.
* Warwickshire Twenty20 tickets go on sale on Tuesday, April 1. A season pass (for all five home games) costs £35 for adults and £15 for children. A three-game pass costs £30 (adults) and £10 (children). Prices on the gate will be £20 (adults) and £7.50 (children).
* Tom Allin, the 20 year-old Devon seamer, has signed a two-year summer contract with Warwick-shire. He, James Ord and Shaaiq Choudhry will join up with the club when their university terms finish.
* Warwickshire supporters are urged to renew their membership promptly. From Tuesday morning, all renewals will be liable for a £30 joining fee on top of the membership costs. Call 0870 062 1902 for details.
* Warwickshire members will be invited to discuss the selection of the team for the current season with captain Darren Maddy and director of cricket Ashley Giles at the next club forum on April 3.
Members will be split into smaller groups in order to feel more able to talk openly with staff.
There will also be a chance to discuss the team's preparation and diet with Simon Hollyhead and the science of player analysis with Chris Armstrong.