Bridgetown (Barbados): West Indies' suffered twin blows on Saturday when bowler Pedro Collins pulled out of the home series against Sri Lanka and the news that a trio of key players may be competing in the lucrative Indian Premier League rather than the May series with Australia.
Left arm medium fast bowler Collins had been selected in the 15-member squad to represent West Indies in the first Test with Sri Lanka at the Guyana National Stadium starting next Saturday.
But the West Indies Players' Association (WIPA) published a letter which Collins wrote to the West Indies Cricket Board which indicated he was unavailable for the series.
"I would like to thank you for considering me once again to represent the West Indies cricket team, something which I have always done with pride, honour, and dignity," Collins wrote.
"Unfortunately, due to prior contractual commitments, I have no alternative but to decline your kind invitation at this time."
Collins' decision stemmed from him signing a two-year deal for English County Championship side Surrey last October to join the club on a two-year deal as a Kolpak player.
Collins has played 32 Tests and 30 One-day Internationals, but as a Kolpak signing it would have been difficult for him to play for West Indies again without immediately becoming a qualified overseas player under the terms of the contract in which case the agreement would likely have been voided.
More troubling though for the WICB was the revelation made by Dr. Donald Peters, chief executive officer of the WICB, that captain Chris Gayle, as well as former captains Shivarine Chanderpaul and Ramnaresh Sarwan could miss the first two Tests against Australia in Jamaica (May 22-26) and Antigua (May 30-June 3) because they have signed up to play in the IPL.
"We are aware that we may lose the players for the first two Tests, and I asked the selectors to be cognisant of this, and to try to put batsmen on the side that could replace Gayle, Chanderpaul, and Sarwan," said Peters.
"There is a real threat that if the players' teams reach the Final, they could be gone for 44 days, so we are really worried about this.
"I am heading to Dubai for an ICC meeting, and I will talk to the President of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) about this, and the effect of the IPL.
"Cricket administrators around the world are worried about the IPL, particularly New Zealand and West Indies because IPL takes place in the middle of when our seasons occur. But all of us stand to lose a significant amount of players.
"Given the amount of money involved, it certainly destabilises the infrastructure of cricket. It's not fair to the players, and it's not fair to the national teams.
"But this is capitalism at its best, free market enterprise at its best, and we now instead of crying have to find a way to make it work, so that we win, and they win. But right now we are losing."
West Indies face Australia in three Tests with the third match in Barbados (June 12-16), a Twenty20 International at the same venue (June 20), and five One-day Internationals in St. Vincent (June 24), Grenada (June 27 and 29), and St. Kitts (July 4 and 6).