Ross Taylor is standing his ground as national captain amid an untenable relationship with coach Mike Hesson, leaving New Zealand Cricket boss David White to return to a king-sized mess today.
An announcement on the captaincy could happen as early as today on White's return, a day earlier than originally scheduled, from International Cricket Council business in Dubai.
Taylor remains a strong chance of being usurped by Brendon McCullum for this month's tour of South Africa, as is Hesson's wish, but a groundswell of public support for the incumbent has NZC facing another public relations disaster if McCullum is installed.
A poll on Stuff.co.nz, which has drawn more than 3000 votes, last night had Taylor as preferred captain with 52 per cent to McCullum's 26 per cent.
The key is Hesson and Taylor's relationship, which was virtually non-existent to begin with, and stretched to breaking point during the tour of Sri Lanka.
Fairfax Media understands Taylor was not only given the option of walking away from the captaincy before the 10-wicket defeat in the first test in Galle, but also told that Hesson would recommend a captaincy change on the team's return to New Zealand.
The skipper's man-of-the-match performance in the 167-run win in Colombo last week turned the situation on its head. The timing is awful.
Hesson remains chief selector, a power brought in by NZC's director of cricket John Buchanan last year when then-coach John Wright chose Taylor over McCullum as his skipper.
That was rubber stamped by chairman Chris Moller's NZC board, most of whom now preside over Taylor's potential sacking.
Here's the Stuff poll from when we voted just a moment ago. With over 3700 votes cast, support for Taylor has firmed since the Stuff story was written:
We have mixed feelings on this whole debacle. It's fair to say that results so far under Ross Taylor's captaincy have been mixed. But captaincy is not a skill that is learned overnight. Stephen Fleming was a pretty average captain in his first couple of seasons in the role. With time, Fleming became one of New Zealand's best cricket captains ever.
There have been suggestions that the burden of captaincy has affected Ross Taylor's batting. His performances in the second test in Sri Lanka rather contradicted that, where he led from the front in a man-of-the-match performance.
But is Taylor's position tenable if a good chunk of the team does not support him? Can he continue to captain the side if the coach does not have confidence in him? Would we be better off with Brendon McCullum as captain? Or would making McCullum captain of the ODI and T20 sides allowing Taylor to specialise as test captain be an acceptable compromise?
We wouldn't want to be NZC CEO David White today. He is faced with a hugely important decision in terms of taking cricket in New Zealand forward; he either endorses the captain or the coach because he cannot endorse both.
There is one positive; Daniel Vettori's reported unavailability for the forthcoming tour of South Africa. We believe that many of the ills in the current set-up can be traced back to Vettori's reign as captain, and the control granted to him by former CEO Justin Vaughan where Vettori not only ran the team but selected it as well.
New Zealand cricket is far from healthy. This latest row will not help the healing process at all, at least in the short term. It will be fascinating to see which way David White's support goes.