Jun 28, 2015 Sports
Asks Sean Devers
I was one of those who wrote in support of veteran left-handed Test batsman Shivnarine Chanderpaul when I felt he was unfairly dumped by the Clive Lloyd led West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) selection panel after his 164th Test in Barbados against England.
The 40-year-old Guyanese was 86 runs short of Brian Lara’s most Test runs by a West Indian (11,953) from 131 Tests. Chanderpaul’s 30 tons was also second most among West Indians to Lara’s 34, while when his Test career came to a screeching halt no West Indian in the history of Test cricket had played more Tests than him.
Chanderpaul claims he was only told that the Barbados Test would be his last after the game was completed denying him to chance to play against Australia and raise his bat to bid farewell to his fans, especially since the first Test of the Australian series was set for Dominica where he was afforded Honorary Citizen status after scoring the first ever Test Century on that Island.
He should have been treated in a much better manner than he was as recognition for his outstanding and dedicated service to West Indies for over two decades since he made his Test debut on home soil at Bourda in 1994 against England when he made the first of his 66 fifties.
Chanderpaul has made it clear that he is not retiring and went as far as saying he was available for the next Regional First Class tournament to try and bat his way back into the West Indies team as farfetched as it sounds.
Many, including former England batsman Kevin Pietersen have described Chanderpaul as selfish but to accept a salary of US$10,000 to play in a format in which is not expected to suit him just to prove a point without regards for the success of the team in addition to keeping a younger player like Leon Johnson, Steven Jacobs, Ricardo Adams or Robin Bacchus out, could lead one to assume that Chanderpaul is indeed selfish.
Against Barbados Tridents Chanderpaul faced five balls for his four runs while against St Lucia Zouks the left-hander known for his solid but slow batting without taking too many risks, wasted 14 dot balls in a 17-ball seven in a game the Warriors lost by two runs off the final ball of the 18-over per side game.
After the game Skipper Denish Ramdin lamented that there were too many dot balls in the middle overs, no doubt referring to Chanderpaul’s inability to get the ball off the square.
From 22 t20 Internationals Chanderpaul averages 20.7, has a strike rate of 98.84 and has never made a half-century and in 81 t20s overall his average is 23.2 and his strike rate is a disappointing 105.77.
His poor t20 record contrast with his Test average of 43.31 and his First-Class average of 54.48 and he has never played in a championship winning t20 team for Guyana.
Chanderpaul looked out of sorts in his last few Test innings and was never seen as a t20 player in his best days so I wonder what would have influenced him into thinking that at 40 he could develop into an attacking batsman with a positive mind-set that would make him well suited for the game’s shortest version.
When Guyana won the inaugural t20 Stanford tournament in 2006 and the WICB t20 competition in 2010 to qualify for the Champions League in South Africa, Chanderpaul was not a part of the team.
In 2008 Guyana were picking their team for that year’s Stanford t20 and Chanderpaul said he was available for selection. I told the then Coach of the team Albert Smith, who was also a selector, that once they included Chanderpaul the team would be hard pressed to win again. I remember in the game against Antigua when Chanderpaul batted at pedestrian pace and Guyana failed to win back-to-back tournaments.
Chanderpaul’s eyesight is not what it was at 25 and his movements have gotten slower which means more times than not he plays late especially to fast bowlers on a track with bounce.
Chanderpaul must be big enough to let Head Coach Carl Hooper, the person mainly responsible for Chanderpaul’s surprising selection in this team that he can no longer take up space in a team which can still reach the semis of the 2015 CLP.
If like past greats like boxing legend Mohamed Ali, Chanderpaul does not want to quit he should be dropped since the team is more important than his desire to play in a format in which he makes no meaningful contribution.
Chanderpaul’s insistence to again play for Guyana at the First-Class level to prove a point to the selectors, should be carefully assessed by those in charge of Guyana’s cricket since he could prevent younger players, including his son from playing.
Especially if he is not opening in T20 cricket, Chanderpaul is a square peg in a round hole in any t20 team and has to be dropped if Hooper feels the team’s winning is more important than Chanderpaul playing.
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