Tomorrow's opening T20 against Bangladesh marks the first time in a decade Ross Taylor has been left out of a New Zealand limited overs side on the basis of form rather than injury or personal reasons.
With Kane Williamson and Neil Broom likely to open, the middle order is expected to comprise Colin Munro, Corey Anderson and debutant Tom Bruce. Jimmy Neesham and Colin de Grandhomme will vie for an all-rounder berth at No.6.
Surgery removed a pterygium growth from Taylor's left eye after he posted his 16th test century against Pakistan at Hamilton in November.
The T20 team was named on Boxing Day. With his rejuvenated vision, Taylor joined Central Districts at New Plymouth's Pukekura Park on December 29 to make 82 off 41 against Auckland and followed up with 80 off 50 balls against Canterbury on December 31.
The likes of Tim Southee and Trent Boult have been given the dignity of a 'rest' from some of the T20 duties against Bangladesh but Taylor, a man who must be ranked in the top four of the contracted players' list, was dropped.
In fairness, Taylor is competing against the right men in the right place at the right time.
To deny his Stags teammate Tom Bruce a chance at international level would be about as brutal as the 25-year-old's batting over the past couple of seasons. In 18 T20s Bruce averages 38.92 at a strike rate of 156; this season those numbers are 47.16 at 172.
When Martin Guptill injured his left hamstring in the final Bangladesh ODI, Taylor must have been considered for a recall. The goodwill fell Broom's way after his man-of-the-series efforts of 109 not out and 97 to extract New Zealand from tricky positions against the tourists.
Broom came with the added benefit of opening regularly in the T20 format. He failed in a couple of 2016 outings for Derbyshire in England's T20 Blast, but in last season's Super Smash he made 273 runs at an average of 54.60 and strike rate of 121 donning the pads first. He has batted at No.3 or No.4 for Otago this season for 206 runs at an average of 51.50 and strike rate of 140.
Curiously, the decision to recall Broom would have been mulled over at the same time Taylor was making his 80 on New Year's Eve.
In the selectors' defence, Taylor had struggled for form in the test and ODI arenas.
Between his 364 unbeaten test runs against Zimbabwe in July-August and November's century against Pakistan he went 16 international innings without a half-century. In hindsight, the eye issue was a mitigating factor, and he endured a disruptive year for ailments. A side strain saw him miss the 2015-16 series against Pakistan and Australia.
Yet his T20 international and domestic form was solid.
In seven innings, which encompassed the World T20, he averaged 29.75 with a strike rate of 127. Both figures were higher than career aggregates of 24.15 and 120.
Taylor also excelled in the T20 Blast for Sussex in England. The 32-year-old played all but one innings in his preferred No.4 position rather No.5 where he batted last year for New Zealand in the shortest form. He scored 394 runs from 10 innings at an average of 56.28 and strike rate of 133. His average was second among batsmen to play more than six innings.
"It's unlucky for Ross," selector Gavin Larsen said after the initial team announcement.
"He'll play for CD and hopefully shoot the lights out to keep knocking the door down."
So it has proved.
Taylor now prepares to help top-of-the-table Central Districts win their first domestic T20 title since 2009-10, but will miss tomorrow's match against Auckland with stiffness in his side.