Much has been made about Shivnarine Chanderpaul’s unceremonious ouster from the West Indian side. The veteran left-hander was left out from the Caribbean outfit for the series against Australia following a poor run of scores against England recently.
Was it the right thing to do? The southpaw is 40+ and is not getting any younger. Age should never be a criteria and rightly so. Form and class play an important role. Australia are a top side and playing an out-of-sorts Chanderpaul, however, would not have been fair to the rest of the side.
Sachin Tendulkar was given a farewell Test series by the BCCI against a weak West Indian side at Mumbai; he was able to go out on a relative high. Many would have preferred if the great had called it quits after the 2011 World Cup. The Master Blaster lingered on. It is a human failing fans have witnessed in so many wonderful sports persons. They do not know when to bid the game goodbye.
Ironically, the first Test saw the resurgence of a wonderfully talented Australian batsman Adam Voges making his Test debut at 35. Australian selectors are ruthless when cutting out-of-form or aging players to make room for younger champions.
Little credit is given to them for their bravery in choosing older players who would be considered journeymen in countries in India or Pakistan.
Thus, Matthew Hayden made a comeback at 32. Look where he finished!
Michael Hussey made the best of the chances that came his way the second time around. Adam Voges is probably another of this breed. Team coach Darren Lehmann himself was a beneficiary of the selectors’ long memories.
Should Chanderpaul have played and contributed a ton à la Voges, he would have been lauded by one and all. But, alas, that is wishful thinking reflected upon by the mawkish.
Sports, like business, has no room for sentiment. Winning is serious business; so is modern sport.