Johannesburg - Farhaan Behardien's 2019 Cricket World Cup hopes received a massive blow on Thursday when he was left out of the squad for the first three ODIs against India.
Instead, the Proteas selectors have backed uncapped Dolphins captain Khaya Zondo.
It is the major surprise in the squad, especially considering how devastating Behardien has been on the domestic scene for the past two seasons.
In this year's One Day Cup, Behardien has scored 364 runs at an average of 52 and a strike rate of 92.85.
Zondo, meanwhile, has 263 runs at an average of 43.83 while his strike rate is a worrying 65.09.
But while Behardien has thrived on the domestic scene, he has always struggled to convince his detractors that he belongs on the international stage.
That said, his numbers in ODI cricket are not bad.
The 34-year-old has notched up 58 ODI caps over the years, averaging 31.55 at a strike rate of 98.26.
The argument for leaving him out now, according to convenor of selectors Linda Zondi, is that the proteas need to explore all possible options and combinations before the 2019 World Cup.
"We are starting our vision for 2019 in terms of the players and the roles we are looking at," Zondi explained.
"He (Behardien) has done well at franchise level for four years and we know what he can offer.
"It’s important for us to increase that pool and give opportunity so that when the time comes we don’t have to be clouded by certain players."
Zondi added that he had spoken to Behardien and explained the decision, adding that there would be rotational changes in the second half of the Indian series and through the rest of the year in the ODI set-up.
"We have made it clear that this squad is only for the first three matches," he said.
"After the third match we will sit and, regardless of whether we're winning the series or not, we will give opportunities.
"We are not saying we have dropped Behardien and he won’t be part of the series. We will sit after the third match and decide which guys we want to rest and rotate.
"He knows where he stands ... every player knows.
"This is going to happen for the whole year. There will be key guys that we’re going to have to rest."
Zondo had previously been included in an ODI squad for a series in India, but he spent that tour on the sidelines without getting his first cap.