Pace bowling legend Michael Holding feels West Indies will miss the services of Shimron Hetmyer, Darren Bravo and Keemo Paul for the upcoming England Tests after the trio turned down a place in the squad due to coronavirus fears.
The three-Test series is set to bring an end to an extended drought of international cricket in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis as the matches will be held behind closed doors across two venues.
"I think it's unfortunate as far as West Indies cricket is concerned," Holding said in a video uploaded on his YouTube channel.
"I'm not going to tell anyone that they should be going to England because COVID-19 is around, someone may get sick or even worse," he said.
"But at the same time, I think it's unfortunate for the West Indies team because these guys have quite a bit of talent, and they'll be missed."
Bravo's spot in the Test side has been relatively uncertain in the recent past given his poor form in the conventional format and a rift with the previous Cricket West Indies administration.
Holding reckons Bravo had a better chance to redeem himself and reestablish his batting credentials during a potentially difficult tour of England while exciting middle-order batsman Hetmyer would have benefitted from the experience.
"I'm sorry that Bravo in particular isn't going because Bravo, I think, needs to resuscitate his career," the 66-year-old said.
"I think the more cricket he can play now, especially for West Indies, the better chance he has of getting back on track and showing everyone the great player that he could be."
"Hetmyer, again, I think he's a very, very talented player. Again, I'm sorry that he's not going so that he can get more opportunities to express himself. But I am not blaming them for not going."
Holding's opinions were supported by Ian Bishop, who also felt it was fair to allow players a chance to opt out of the trip to England in light of the towering virus death toll in the country.
Meanwhile, he commended the remaining squad for going ahead with the series and grabbing the opportunity to express themselves on the international stage.
"You have to give players the option because it's a world health crisis," Bishop told Trinidad Express.
"If a player decides he does not want to take that health risk, you can't hold it against him in this context. The players know they are taking a risk if someone who replaced them goes on to have great success. That's a chance you take."