Right time for Chanderpaul to bid adieu

Shivnarine Chanderpaul  West Indies  West Indies cricket  Clive Lloyd  former West Indies captain  WICB  Brian LaraWest Indies Cricket Board  Caribbean team

Everything good or bad has to end one day. There is no way one could go forever. The same is applicable in sports. The champions are born to rule their individual category and translate their talent into passion for the fans. However, with growing age and less performance spells, they too have to bid adieu leaving the followers in a sad mode. The painful moments passes with the arrival of a new kid on the block who takes over from the former hero with his sublime display. Shivnarine Chanderpaul is the gladiator of West Indies cricket, who has served his nations for decades. However, he was recently told by the selectors that there is no place for him in the Test team and he is free to consider his futuristic options. Chief selector Clive Lloyd has stated that allowing Shiv Chanderpaul to continue playing in order to surpass Brian Lara as the highest run-getter in West Indies cricket was not a good enough reason to retain the veteran left-hander. “We’ve taken that into consideration but that should never be the sole reason why you want to choose somebody,” said the legendary former West Indies captain. “As you may notice, he has been given quite a lot of games to probably try and get close to that and he hasn’t looked the part that’s why we’ve decided that now is the time to change.” In explaining Chanderpaul’s axing, Lloyd said the player had experienced a “rapid decline”, averaging just 16 from his last 11 innings. And with the Guyanese already in the twilight of his career at age 40, Lloyd said the panel had also taken a decision to infuse the team with younger players.

“If he decides to continue, people have done that before. They’ve not been selected but they’ve continued to play first class cricket. Our aim as selectors is to continue to play our young players and give them that exposure and you can’t get better exposure than playing against one of the best teams in the world, probably the second best team in the world (in Australia),” Lloyd explained. “They will be tested and that’s what it’s all about. Going forward, we want to play our youngsters and a lot of them are doing well and we feel now is the time to give them that exposure.” Even the West Indies coach Phil Simmons has labeled the axing as the right way to go forward. “He has had a long and illustrious career and we know he’s done a lot for West Indies cricket but at the same time when we sit down to select a team, we sit down to select a team to win a game against Australia, and to play the two Tests in the series against Australia,” Simmons said. “When we went through the process, he didn’t fit in so it’s not about giving someone two Tests to finish his career, it’s about picking the best team to play the next game.” Chanderpaul has faced criticism, harsh words and even question mark over his career by many cricket lovers. However, he has refused to give up and has gone on to carve a niche for himself. But the recent statement by the biggies of WICB won’t sound good as far as his career is concerned. There is no place in the world, where he has not scored the runs. He has held his bat up against fast bowlers and spinners with ease.

The left hand batsman is now 40-years of age, which is by no means a small figure when one takes like occupancy into account. The legendary player has played 164 Test matches for his side and is close to 12000 runs at an average of 52. He has scored 30 centuries in this format of the game. Chanderpaul deserves applause for his career but the time has come to say good bye as this is blocking one of the places in the playing XI. He made his international debut in a home series against England (1994), scoring an impressive 62 and leading his team to victory. The player had a magnificent series notching three fifties in the six innings. His wait for a maiden ton ended in 1997 when India visited West Indies. He scored an unbeaten 137 runs in the first inning of the third Test match. Chanderpaul went on to score his first one day hundred in the final and fifth ODI of the series on the same tour. He was often blasted for not converting good starts into big scores. However, there was a drastic change in his fortunes when he decided to have a surgery on his foot in 2000. He soon started scoring centuries and his first victim was the Indian team. He scored three centuries in India and also hit the then third fastest century in Tests— off 69 deliveries against Australia in a home series. The Guyana-born cricketer was declared Man of the Match for scoring 104 runs in the record run-chase of 418 against Australia in 2003. West Indies won this Test match by 3 wickets. He is the second highest run-scorer for West Indies after Brian Lara, who accumulated 11912 runs off 130 Test matches in his career.

Chanderpaul scored his first and only double hundred against Bangladesh at Dhaka in 2005. He has not done badly in the ODIs, where he is the third highest run accumulator for West Indies after Brian Lara and Chris Gayle. This regular contributor has managed 8778 runs off 268 ODIs, including 11 tons in the process. The strike rate stands at 70 which is not poor either. However, some low key performances in the 2011 World Cup forced him to quit this format and the world expected to do the same in the Test matches but this has not come true till now. He recently batted with his son Tagenarine in a List A game for Gandhi Youth Organization against Transport Sports Club, where the duo smashed centuries. His son has copied his father’s style when it comes to taking guard and setting up of helmet and batting gloves. Cut back to recent matches, the evergreen player had gone through difficult times. His last five innings’ scores read 0, 25, 7, 1 and 13, which is not good for a batsman of his caliber.

Is this the right time for him to quit international cricket? I know his admirer won’t agree as he has often staged a strong comeback after few low scores but this looks highly impossible keeping his age in mind. He has nothing left to prove to anyone as he has achieved everything in his glorious career. The West Indies Cricket Board has not dealt with its players nicely in the past and the same has happened to Chanderpaul. It’s high time for him to decide on his career, as a player like him should have been dealt properly. The West Indies team won’t be the same without their star player but this is what sports is all about. The Caribbean team surely needs another Chanderpaul and who knows they might get one in the near future in form of his son. All said and done, the cricket fans should thank this legend for making cricket a memorable sport because of his high class and skillful batting for years. Being a cricket fanatic, I will surely miss his fighting spirit ( when he call off his playing days) which he has displayed for West Indies match after match, that too against top teams like Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, India and Pakistan. Long live his legacy for the West Indies team.

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