Brian Lara has criticised the decision of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) to drop Shivnarine Chanderpaul from the training squad ahead of the Test series against Australia, saying that the 40-year-old batsman deserved an honourable farewell for his years of service to West Indian cricket.
Chanderpaul has had a poor run in recent times, a fact highlighted by his aggregate of just 92 runs in the three-Test series against England at home, which ended in a 1-1 draw. In light of that, he was left out of the preliminary West Indian squad for the upcoming Dominica Test against Australia with Clive Lloyd, the chairman of selectors, saying that the time was right for a youngster to be given a run in Chanderpaul’s place.
If he doesn’t play Test cricket again, Chanderpaul will finish with 11,867 runs – just 86 behind Lara’s West Indian record 11,953 runs – made over 164 Tests and at an average of 51.37 with 30 centuries and 66 half-centuries to his name.
“This has nothing to do with numbers or averages. What are they saying – that Chanderpaul was given the last 11 innings to get the desired number of runs to break a record,” Lara was quoted as saying by The Trinidad Guardian on Wednesday (May 27). “It has to do with respect and Chanderpaul has earned the right to say goodbye in an acceptable way. In fact, he should be allowed to do it in his own way.”
Lara noted that most other cricket nations ensured a dignified exit for their heroes and used the example of Sachin Tendulkar’s retirement to explain his point. “What did they do? They organised a Test series in his honour and gave him a farewell in keeping with his contribution to the game.
“From Guyana in 1994 when he (Chanderpaul) made his debut to his last Test innings, he gave his heart to West Indies cricket and what do we do … drop him and that’s it?
“The manner in which they (WICB) deal with their players is despicable and should no longer be tolerated. When you look back to so many of our heroes and the manner in which they were dumped, it makes you shudder.”
Lara called for Chanderpaul to be included for the two Test matches against Australia and for the series to be considered a farewell series for the batsman. “In that way, there will be no hostility and whether he makes a double-century or a duck, it doesn’t matter. It will be his farewell series and the entire cricketing world will know that.
“He deserves it. The WICB and the Caribbean owe it to Shiv to send him off with dignity and respect. He has earned it.”