Chanderpaul questions Hilaire’s comments
Former West Indies captain Shivnarine Chanderpaul has demanded an explanation from WICB Chief Executive Ernest Hilaire regarding the comments he made about the lack of discipline and application in the team, leading up to its massive post-World Cup overhaul. In a strongly-worded letter addressed to Hilaire, a copy of which is with ESPNcricinfo, Chanderpaul questioned whether the comments were directed at him.
Chanderpaul, along with senior players Chris Gayle and Ramnaresh Sarwan, were axed from the side for the ongoing series against Pakistan. Hilaire’s interview with Line and Length network, a copy of which was later released by the WICB, touched upon a number of the problems besetting West Indies cricket over the past 15 years.
Chanderpaul’s concerns were over the following excerpt from the interview: “If you look at West Indies cricket since the mid-90s, a lot of the systems we had in place broke down. There’s no discipline, there’s no application. We’ve been doing that for 15 years and we’ve been losing. We need to put a new system in place. No one man is bigger than the team, no one man is such a superstar he can decide if he is training today, if he’s going to have treatment tomorrow, if he’s going to attend a team meeting. It cannot work that way.”
In response, Chanderpaul wrote: “I am particularly concerned about the following statements: 1. There’s no discipline, there’s no application. 2. No one man is bigger than the team, no one man is such a superstar he can decide if he is training today, if he’s going to have treatment tomorrow, if he’s going to attend a team meeting.
“I am of the opinion that anyone reading these comments in the specific context will conclude that:
1. “I, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, am an indisciplined individual, and during my tenure as a West Indies player over the past fifteen years have lacked discipline and contributed to the West Indies team losing.
2. “I, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, have not applied myself or demonstrated any real application to my role as a member of the West Indies team over the past 15 years, and by so doing have contributed to the West Indies team losing.
3. “I, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, consider myself to be bigger than the team.
4. “I, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, while a member of the West Indies team during the past fifteen years, have decided when I was training or not training.
5. “I, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, while a member of the West Indies team during the past fifteen years, have decided when I was going to attend or not attend team meetings.
6. “(Based on the accusations above) I, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, while a member of the West Indies team during the past fifteen years, have disregarded the coaches and managerial staff, or undermined team discipline by my actions and attitude.”
Chanderpaul also questioned whether the statements were reflective of Hilaire’s personal opinion, or were made in his capacity as WICB chief. “If they were made by you, I note that you constantly use the word ‘we’ in the excerpt above,” Chanderpaul wrote. “I would like to know if this is a ‘royal we’ or, in other words, are you speaking for yourself, albeit as CEO of the West Indies Cricket Board, or are you speaking for and on behalf of the West Indies Cricket Board itself? This is important to me, since I believe I have served the WICB and West Indies Cricket faithfully and well during my career, and it would be difficult for me to accept that the members of the Board of Directors of West Indies Cricket have sanctioned those remarks. On what basis have you made those statements, and with what purpose?”
Asking Hilaire to reply urgently, Chanderpaul said he was worried the comments would damage his reputation. “I am convinced that those persons who do not know the sacrifices I have made on behalf of West Indies Cricket and my dedication to the cause of West Indies Cricket would believe, based on what you have said in your interview, that I lack discipline and application and have not demonstrated the sense of responsibility which I know that I have shown throughout my career. While I would refer you to my unblemished reputation for professionalism and to all the other CEOs, coaches and managers with whom I have worked, I believe that you have crossed the line by making these public accusations that, while they may include others, are also directed at me; and if unchallenged and not corrected, may destroy my career.”
Chanderpaul told Hilaire in his letter that, if he did not receive an adequate explanation, he would take whatever action necessary to clear his name. “While it would help if the WICB as an organisation repudiates your comments in this regard, it would still not be sufficient to erase the tremendous damage already done. I await your urgent response, and reserve all of my rights in this matter.”