West Indies cricket chiefs have vowed they will fight any attempts to reduce their team to that of a 'second-tier' Test match nation when the executive board of the International Cricket Council (ICC) meets at the governing body's Dubai headquarters next week.
The West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) are also worried about the impact of the Indian Premier League (IPL) on the game in their region, with matches in the new Twenty20 tournament, which starts next month, set to take place while Sri Lanka and Australia are touring the Caribbean.
Meanwhile the WICB said the ICC had been "insulting" in the way it had responded to its concerns regarding the treatment of leading West Indian umpire Steve Bucknor, who was removed from his scheduled appointment in the third Test of the recent series between Australia and India following Indian complaints about his performance in the second match of the series.
One plan being mooted to increase the competitiveness of Test cricket would see the top seven nations cut off from the bottom three with promotion and relegation between the two groups.
Under the current rankings, that would see West Indies, who've declined dramatically since the likes of Viv Richards, Michael Holding, Malcolm Marshall and Curtly Ambrose helped make them Test cricket's leading team from the mid-1970s to the start of the 1990s and a popular draw with fans around the world, with just Bangladesh and Zimbabwe to play in the five-day format.
"The WICB will never allow this to happen," WICB president Julian Hunte insisted in a statement from their Antigua offices on Tuesday.
"In most of the cricket playing countries of the world, we are the team they like most after their national team.
"However, we have to use this as motivation to get back to the top of world cricket. Our players must be mindful of this when they go out to play since if our standing in world cricket does not improve we might find our options and opportunities severely limited."
Hunte also voiced fears about the consequences of the IPL.
"We are deeply concerned about the future impact of leagues like the IPL on our cricket particularly when their seasons are in direct competition with our tours or our domestic season.
"We and New Zealand will be the big losers. Already it is clear that three of our players (Chris Gayle, Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Ramnaresh Sarwan) will have to choose between representing teams in the IPL or representing their region.
"Given the amount of money at stake, it already seems to be a foregone conclusion. We also have the ICL (the 'rebel Indian Cricket League) and again the dilemma faced by our players."
When Bucknor, Test cricket's most experienced umpire, was replaced in Australia in January, Hunte warned a dangerous predecent had been set.
Many observers accused the ICC of 'giving in' to India, because it is cricket's economic powerhouse - a charge the world governing body denied.
Hunte, who contrasted the ICC's reaction with the way it had batted away West Indian complaints about umpiring on their 2005 tour of Australia, was unhappy with the response he'd had from Dubai regarding the 'Bucknor' affair.
"I said at the time that the ICC was setting a dangerous precedent but that before we took a decision on the matter we needed to know more. So far, I have not received the information I sought and I consider this an insult to the WICB which is a full-member of the ICC."
The ICC executive board meeting is due to take place from March 16-18.