Wellington: New Zealand star fast bowler Shane Bond is set to turn his back on his national team following reports on Thursday he has signed for the rebel Indian Cricket League.
Bond declined to comment but New Zealand Cricket chief executive Justin Vaughan admitted the prospect of losing Bond was "terribly disappointing".
"We'd love to see him playing for New Zealand and that is why we have turned over so many stones, but at the moment we are on the back foot," Vaughan was reported saying in the Dominion Post newspaper.
Vaughan said he had tried to persuade Bond to join the sanctioned Indian Premier League but said Bond had presumably found the rebel deal more attractive.
"I can't say for certain he has signed but I understand that is what his agent is saying," he said.
The injury-prone Bond is recovering from an abdominal tear but had been due to make his comeback when England tours New Zealand from next month.
The 32-year-old has taken 79 wickets in 17 Tests at an average of 22.39 and 125 wickets at 19.32 in 67 one-day internationals.
The loss of their top bowler, despite his run of injuries, would be a major blow for New Zealand.
New Zealand Cricket has instructed team selectors to consider other players ahead of those who have joined the rebel league.
Six former New Zealand players have joined the rebel league, although Chris Cairns, Nathan Astle, Craig McMillan, Daryl Tuffey, Chris Harris and Hamish Marshall had either retired or were unlikely to be selected for the national team.