The announcement yesterday of the West Indies 14 man squad for the first Test match against South Africa apparently signals the end of Brian Lara's successful, but chequered, international career.
But only apparently, despite his omission together with six other automatic choices - Dwayne Bravo, Fidel Edwards, Chris Gayle, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Dwayne Smith and Ravi Rampaul.
Has Lara, for once, bitten off more than he can chew in saying he will play, only providing that most of the above half-dozen are welcomed back by the West Indies Control Board who are now in open warfare with the players?
Lara has survived many battles, including when he walked out halfway through a tour to England, and leading a players' strike in London when they refused to travel to South Africa unless the Board met their terms. They lost that series 5-0.
It was always 'Lara the undroppable', to whom the Board gave in. But this time there is a difference. It appears that the former captain is acting on grounds of solidarity with the other six.
He was offered a place and the captaincy, but he replied saying that he would only play if most of the other six were picked.
Lara and the other six are contractually tied in with Cable & Wireless - the major sponsors of West Indies cricket for 18 years. That changed last July when the WICB signed a four-year deal worth £11 million with Digicel, Cable & Wireless's main rivals in the world of telecommunications.
Lara signed his contract with Cable & Wireless in 2003 when they were still the team sponsors, but the other six signed after Digicel took over last July.
The row bubbled before and during the triangular tournament in Australia earlier this year, with Digicel claiming that the seven dissidents were uncooperative in dealing with official Board requests for personal appearances.
Small wonder that West Indies did not reach the triangular final.
Since then, the WIBC have discovered they have no legal grounds for dropping Lara because of his binding contract before the switch of sponsors, but they do have a case against the others.
The first rumbling of the current mess came last July when the Board called a meeting to launch the new Digicel agreement.
The media were told that the top table would be manned by a Digicel representative, plus the Board's president, Teddy Griffith and captain Lara.
The latter's chair remained vacant, with Griffith insisting his absence was not significant, but that statement was the first of many which increased the mis-handling of a potentially explosive situation.
Lara was cleared to play last Friday and given 24 hours to make a decision in the knowledge that, if he refused, he would lose the captaincy to Shivnarine Chanderpau for next week's first Test in Guyana.
The 24 hour ultimatum was the third "final" one this month, but it appears that the Board's patience has finally run out, despite any ramifications concerning the 2007 World Cup.
Keith Mitchell, Grenada's Prime Minister says: "I'm concerned by the message we send to the international community about the prospect for a successful World Cup.
"In the case of Grenada, where we have been battered by Hurricane Ivan, we need a message of hope, because we need to send the right message that we are ready to host a successful World Cup."
Extra factors include a Cable & Wireless announcement last May that they would be regional sponsors of the World Cup, and had also tied up six young players who, because they were not under retainer contracts to the WICB, were free agents.
The decks were thus cleared for a dogfight between two commercial concerns that, according to Tony Cozier, the emise grise of Caribbean cricket "have annual turnovers that would comfortably finance several West Indies' countries."
Also in the middle of the affair are the militant West Indies Players' Association, who are about to call a third strike and advise members of the official 14 man squad to refuse to play.
The treasurer of the players' official body is Wavell Hinds, and he knows that his only chance of calling a strike is if the players' fees of US$ 30,000 for the South African series are recompensed.
He also knows that there is no cash in the Association account, and therefore is unsure of even a fragmented response to his strike call.
Someone has to lose face if the Guyana Test is played in Georgetown in ten days time. It is inconceivable that Lara will reverse his stance and agree to play without the other six. It seems equally improbable that Griffith will either agree to their return and change the 14 man squad, or cancel the series if Hinds persuades some of that squad to withdraw.
Your correspondent asked Cozier to guess at the final result.
"I would not even try. How can you second-guess an administration which stumbles from one crisis to another? How can you second-guess when there are so many political heavyweights likely to become involved? I really do not have a clue."
Surely the ICC can't allow a cancelled series, even though they know threats of huge financial penalties will have no effect, because the WICB is virtually bankrupt already, as evidenced by their four-month delay in paying the players for last year's tour of England.
The scientist who claims there is no such thing as either an irresistible force or an immovable object should fly to the Caribbean where both sides will seek to disprove the theory.