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.
What he said:
“Been called into meetings everyday, or every other day, spending hours answering questions. You never leave a meeting until they get whatever answer they want. That is what I’ve been going through. When you batting there are messages coming to you telling you how to bat, it happens until you get out, you know.”
Shivnarine Chanderpaul on how he was forced to play for the past year by the current West Indian management.
What he meant:
“Don’t disturb me, I’m batting. Let me focus.I’ve been doing this for 17 years. How many years have you put in?”
What he definitely didn’t:
“I’m a multi-tasker. I love being on call in the middle.”
“OK, you asked me to dance. I did. Now you want me to sing? No, what, a switch hit, is it?”
“Telling me what to do out in the middle? Isn’t that what got Aamir and his pals into trouble? It’s OK if it’s the WICB?”
2nd May, 2011
Shivnarine Chanderpaul continues to raise a ruckus about his axing from the West Indian side.
In a second letter to West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) Ernest Hilaire, the batsman questions his dropping for the Pakistan tour of West Indies.
Hilaire had squarely blamed the West Indies Player Association (WIPA) for Chanderpaul’s outburst in his response to his earlier missive.
The Guyanese was quick to respond saying:
“I may not be Dr. Chanderpaul, but I have been a top-ranked international batsman and we have to be able to think critically under the most intense and stressful situations.
It is therefore distressing that you blame WIPA by implication, if not overtly, for my letter saying that WIPA was offering me "ill advice". You may not be aware but I have faced the best bowlers in the world in my career and I know how to counter-attack. Furthermore, I am my own man and would ask that you respect that!"
The West Indian bat raised issues on the mishandling of injuries by the administrative body.
Coming on the back of a controversial decision by Chris Gayle to play the IPL rather than represent the band of nations that is the West Indies, the episode paints a sorry picture of the state of Caribbean cricket.
Chanderpaul may no longer be a sprightly young man but he should be allowed to decided when to quit the game.
Chanderpaul rarely courted scandal in his distinguished career but the lackadaisical attitude of the powers-that-be raised his hackles.
This man will not go quietly into the night.