England coach Andy Flower insists the door has not been closed on Ravi Bopara's Test future despite his unexpected absence for personal reasons.
Nottinghamshire batsman James Taylor is set for a Test debut against South Africa on Thursday after England's latest incumbent at number six made himself unavailable for selection.
Bopara's absence means Taylor is likely to begin his career in trying circumstances, as England attempt to bounce back in urgent defence of their world number one status after being trounced by the tourists in the first Test at The Oval last week.
Flower has made it clear Bopara remains in contention, and wished 22-year-old Taylor well too.
"It's disappointing for him (Bopara) obviously, but it opens the door for another player who has come through the academy system and worked really hard over the years to get his chance," commented Flower.
"It doesn't close the door on Ravi Bopara. He's effectively made himself unavailable due to the personal reasons he described to me.
"My job is to help select the side from those available and help prepare them for the Test."
Taylor may therefore become the fifth batsman England have deployed at number six this year.
"I certainly hope James can make six his spot for a while," said Flower. "I don't know him that well. I watched him play against Sri Lanka at Derby last year.
"He looks like a young man that understands his game pretty well and he knows how to score runs.
"We don't know how he'll do but we wish him well and hope he has a wonderful international career."