Ryan McLaren has withdrawn from the South African ODI squad to play Kenya and Bangladesh later this month due to a contractual dispute with Kent.
McLaren is currently operating on terms that exploit a legal loophole in order to allow him to play in England.
However, the loophole does not apply to South African international players and the all-rounder would have to cancel his contract with Kent in order to represent his country - something that the county side are not willing to accept.
"We fully appreciate and understand Ryan's request to be released by Kent for the remainder of his contract to play for South Africa but we are not in a position to agree to his request for numerous reasons," said Kent chief executive Paul Millman.
"The main reason being that Ryan is a key player and Kent has built the team around him."
"This has become even more relevant because of our demotion to the second division of the County Championship."
Many fear that the relationship between Kent and their 2007 Twenty20 Cup hero may have been irreparably damaged.
But McLaren insists that he can accept the club's decision in the same way that Kent have shown appreciation of his desire to represent South Africa.
"I am obviously disappointed that I have had to withdraw from the South African ODI squad," admitted McLaren.
"However, I fully understand my contractual commitments to Kent and respect their decision."
South Africa may now have to wait until 2010 when the 25-year-old's county contract expires, however The Proteas remain keen to see McLaren in the international fold at some stage.
"Cricket South Africa did everything possible to help him get out of his contract, but we did not want him to walk away from Kent with his reputation in tatters," said South Africa coach Mickey Arthur.
"Ryan is still very much part of our future plans."