Central Districts' hopes of a strong performance at the Champions League next month in South Africa have been dealt a hammer blow.
Acting New Zealand captain Ross Taylor has been confirmed in the Royal Challengers Bangalore squad and won't be playing for CD.
Bangalore, his Indian Premier League franchise, are one of three Indian teams in the Champions League.
CD qualified as New Zealand's representative by winning last season's HRV Cup domestic T20.
Under the rules, the IPL franchises who qualify have first dibs on their international players, so Bangalore are taking Australian Cameron White and South African Jacques Kallis, as well as Taylor.
That is costing Bangalore a whopping US$600,000 in compensation, with White deprived of captaining Victoria in the tournament and Kallis removed from the Warriors, one of South Africa's finalists.
The US$200,000 cheque coming New Zealand Cricket's way from Bangalore is split among the major associations and NZC, with CD having a larger chunk than the other five provinces.
But in CD coach Allan Hunt's eyes that's only small compensation.
"We've known for some time he'd be picked up by Bangalore and we've been planning for that occurrence," Hunt said yesterday.
"You can't replace him. He's our key player and one of our principal run getters in our success in the HRV Cup last year."
The home province, or the player, have no say in the matter.
"From that point of view it's disappointing but we've got to accept it," Hunt said. "It's part of the landscape and now we've got to work with who we've got left so they understand they've got some responsibility to get some runs too."
The CD squad includes six past or current internationals: captain Jamie How, Jacob Oram, Mathew Sinclair, Peter Ingram, Brendan Diamanti and Michael Mason.
CD kick off their Champions League against Chennai Super Kings in Durban on September 12. Their other group A opponents are Victoria, the Warriors of South Africa and Sri Lankan side Wayamba.
The final is in Johannesburg on September 26.