Last Updated on Thursday, 28 May 2015, 0:52 by GxMediaMinister of Education with responsibility for Sport, Dr. Rupert Roopnaraine has described the ‘sacking’ of veteran Guyanese batsmen Shivnarine Chanderpaul from the West Indies cricket squad as ‘distressing’.
“The manner of his going, really does no justice to the manner of his performance over the years, and what he has meant to us,” Minister Roopnaraine said of the un-ceremonial and abrupt end to the cricketing career of Chanderpaul, who spent over two decades playing for the West Indies.
“I think that the response of the Guyana Cricket Board was heartedly robust. It clearly is a decision that we in Guyana feel distressed about. Chanderpaul has for so long been a titan on the cricketing scene in the Caribbean and it is difficult right now to even imagine a West Indian team without Chanderpaul,” Minister Roopnaraine was quoted as saying by the Government Information Agency (GINA).
“…we recognise, we notice in his last two series that he has not been himself, he has scored less than he normally does, he has been far less reliable, people were getting him out, which was always a great feat when he is playing well,” Minister Roopnaraine acknowledged. The Minister noted however that if the West Indies selectors felt that Chanderpaul was coming to the end of his career, then some appropriate arrangement should have been made for his “final bash.”
“If you identify, if you say look, ‘Tiger has had a great run, we are going to miss him, but we know he has to go’, let him leave in a dignified way… make a good preparation for what should have been his final match, so that the West Indian people would have had a chance to salute him in a final farewell. We needed to design something very appropriate, when someone of Chanderpaul’s value leaves the scene; that was not done, and that is what has been most distressing,” he added.”
The Minister also said that he does not share the view that Chanderpaul should have simply been kept on to overtake Brain Lara’s record. “I think that Clive Lloyd has been right about that; that is not a good reason. You want to pick your best team to play against Australia, and beat them if you can, at the moment on his current form, he doesn’t make it, but my own feeling is that he should have been sent off on the twilight really in a far more dignified way that pays tribute to what he has contributed,” he said. “What he has contributed has just been gigantic and that should have been acknowledged, recognised and dealt with appropriately. It has not been dealt with appropriately,” he added.
Shivnarine Chanderpaul, 40, was unexpectedly dropped from the West Indies squad for the upcoming home series against Australia. Chanderpaul has 11867 runs to his name, including 30 centuries and 66 fifties in 164 Tests. He is also just 86 runs short of Brian Lara’s record for the most ever Test runs for West Indies.
Brian Lara himself has berated the West Indies selector and the WICB for seeking to deny Chanderpaul the chance of a final Test series against Australia and a fitting farewell from the world of cricket. “This has absolutely nothing to do with runs or number,” Lara told the Trinidad and Tobago Guardian. “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 also contrasted Chanderpaul’s fate with that of retired veteran Indian batsmen Sachin Tendulkar, who was granted a specially scheduled Test series at home against West Indies to end his glorious career.