Will Jamie How and Kieran Noema-Barnett still be in the Central Districts Stags' 2014-15 matrix after they were unceremoniously dumped this week?
"I'm shocked and kind of emotional right now," veteran batsman How said yesterday from Palmerston North after coach Heinrich Malan read the riot act on Tuesday before the Stags' last fling at a flagging Georgie Pie Super Smash Twenty20 campaign in Napier.
The fifth-placed CD, with new skipper Kruger van Wyk at the helm, have only two wins in the abbreviated, white-ball format.
They play last-placed Otago Volts at 7.10pm today then lock horns with the Northern Districts Knights at 7pm tomorrow, following the Auckland Aces v Canterbury Kings match from 3.50pm.
On Sunday, the Stags take on the Canterbury Kings from 3.50pm before the Knights play the Aces from 7pm.
How, distressed, said Malan had phoned him on Tuesday.
"I'm not exactly sure what was said but I certainly got the message," said the 33-year-old right-hander, who ironically made his domestic T20 debut at McLean Park in 2006.
The former Black Caps cricketer has record-breaking partnerships for CD since making his first-class debut in 2000-01. He has racked up 16 Plunket Shield (four-day) centuries and 38 half tons, as well as 149 catches, in whites.
A slips merchant, he has four one-day domestic centuries to his credit, 29 half tons and 80 catches.
How has also smashed a highest score of 102 runs from 74 T20 matches, averaging 26.05.
However, this T20 season he has had lean pickings, scrounging 106 runs at 17.66.
"As they say, mate, the runs have been drying up," said the man teammates call Howser.
Veteran Mathew Sinclair, who is Pay Excellence Hawke's Bay senior men's representative coach and still carving up tons, was dropped in similar circumstances when CD finished last in the T20 competition last summer. Sinclair retired soon after.
Noema-Barnett, who could not be reached for comment, is in the Bay side's mix for the Hawke Cup match in New Plymouth this weekend, although Indika Senarathne is coming in for Sinclair, who is part of the T20 TV commentary team this weekend.
The 27-year-old allrounder has scored 95 runs this T20 season, with an average of a shade under 16, including the highest score of 41.
He lost his captaincy to veteran wicketkeeper Van Wyk (averaging 76) and has signed a three-year contract with Gloucestershire in a bid to play English county cricket.
Ex-CD skipper How, though, isn't in the mix of cup-holders Manawatu.
"I'm not sure who Manawatu are playing this weekend but I've spoken to Mase [coach Michael Mason] yesterday and he was happy for me to miss the game."
Malan, in his second summer, said it was all about "significant and influential cricket games".
"They have not been picked on non-performance," said the South African, adding the pair hadn't done that for the past two years and were out for the rest of the T20 campaign.
Manawatu specialist batsmen Dane Cleaver, 22, and Dave Meiring, 28, come into the fray.
"We have two guys from district level in the next three days to show what they can do so it's exciting for them."
Malan wasn't sure if How was playing for Manawatu this weekend but said it was CD policy to make themselves available to their districts.
"Any player who doesn't play for CD takes their experience and seniority down to help develop. That's CD philosophy."
-Standings (played/pts): ND 8/22, Firebirds 9/22, Kings 7/16, Aces 7/14, Stags 7/10, Volts 8/8.