In his letter “Frederick Kissoon, new cricket commentator, disappointed!” (KN, May 30, 2015), Michael Albert, the letter writer denies me my right to form an opinion on whether Shiv Chanderpaul should be picked for the current test series with Australia.
He takes a cynical dig at me by suggesting I am now cricket commentator and an overnight specialist in cricket. In a strange Freudian twist, he signed as a “cricket lover,” and not a cricket specialist. I thought after berating me for thinking that I was a cricket specialist, he would have corrected me as he is a cricket specialist.
George tells me that I don’t deal in statistics. One thing I am absolutely sure of is that George doesn’t deal in what all human ought to deal in and be aware of at all times – context
Here are the contexts involving Shivanarine Chanderpaul that either George chose to ignore because of sentiments or because he knows nothing about context. No one denies Chanderpaul’s prowess and the need to give him a coruscating send-off. That was not my context. I simply argued that at forty one (he is past forty) and with declining form, he should not be picked for the Australian series just to break Lara’s record
It is sad in terms of the learning capacity if George missed that context.
The second context is you do not pick a sportsman in order for him to achieve a personal milestone. You select him to achieve victory for your country. The third context was not contained in my piece but in George’s own letter. George cites Chanderpaul’s wonderful average in his seven matches in 2014 but chose not to tell us which teams he recorded those scores against.
As a cricket specialist it is unfortunate that George would judge the formidability of a batsman based on his performance against Bangladesh
The fourth context comes from George’s own letter again. He criticizes many of the current young West Indian players saying that they do not match Chanderpaul’s record.
Why should the West Indies not persist with them given their age as compared to Chanderpaul’s forty one years of age? If you select a forty one year old cricketer with declining form, you are doing an injustice to a young blood that needs the experience
The fifth context comes from me and contained in my original piece on Chanderpaul in which I warned readers that there is the tendency to be sentimental when it comes to judging great people.
My task was to warn them that as great a cricketer he was, we should not be sentimental in demanding that he must play.
Sports managers do not select a team member because of sentiments. Sentiments are all over George’s letter.
In fact he boldly says in his letter that “before I get sentimental, let me transition in the details.” Do cricket specialists analyze the sport based on sentiments?
I need to remind George that the Sports Minister was annoyed at the way Chanderpaul was treated but stated that he did not agree that he must be picked for the Australia series because the best team should be assembled. Michael Holdings argues the same way.
But George argues on sentiments and that is why I wrote my piece on sentiments
Next to George’s letter in the same edition of KN, is another letter from Canada in support of Chanderpaul in which I am criticized.
It appears that it is very cold in Canada this time of the year and the cold is affecting logical thinking. That letter-writer, Ranjit Singh missed my point completely.
I repeat – all I said was that Chanderpaul should not be picked to represent the Caribbean against Australia for the sake of a personal milestone – breaking Lara’s record. Caribbean cricket is bigger than any single player or manager
Singh wants Chanderpaul to be given a superb send-off. Who would disagree with that? One suspects that the farewell Chanderpaul wants is to play just to break Lara’s record. And as Michael Holding told us that knowing how Chanderpaul operates, he, Chanderpaul wouldn’t want to retire.
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