'Tiger' To Play vs Aus
It was reported that at least two Directors of the West Indies Cricket (WICB) and its President Dave Cameron managed to override the surprising decision by Chairman of Selectors Clive Lloyd to sack 40-year-old Guyanese Shiv Chanderpaul from the team for the two-Test series against Australia which starts on June 3 in Dominica.
This happened at a WICB retreat at the Accra Beach Hotel in Barbados yesterday. “The WICB is having a retreat with its players, staff and directors and (Anand) Sanasie and another Director were able to convince enough Directors and the President to override Lloyd and the selection panel to give Chanderpaul his last series,” a well placed source told Kaieteur Sport.
Kaieteur Sports’ efforts to make contact with Sanasie all day yesterday proved futile since he was reportedly still in Barbados. The source also stated that Lloyd is far from pleased that his decision was overruled. Lloyd, the former Guyana and West Indies Captain, was reportedly told that this is a policy decision to honour Chanderpaul’s contribution to West Indies Cricket over the past 21 years.
Only recently Lloyd failed to select Guyanese left-arm spinner Veerasammy Permaul, who had the most wickets in the Regional series, for the World Cup and did not pick Leon Johnson or Narsingh Deonarine for the English series after they had both played in the preceding series in South Africa.
According to the source, Chanderpaul already has his travel plans to join the squad in Barbados, leaving the veteran batsman a last chance to surpass Brian Lara’s record for most Test runs by a West Indian.
Cameron said he wants to ensure that Chanderpaul gets a fitting send-off when his career finally ends. Cameron, who was re-elected for a second term last March, said he is not pleased with how former players had been treated at the end of their careers.
“I have never really liked how we have ushered out our players, so as president I am always trying to figure out how to honour them,” he said.
“We’re doing it now on a continuous basis, year by year, for their performances, but at the end of a long and illustrious career like Shivnarine Chanderpaul’s we want to ensure that whatever we do, it is well respected and that he knows and the region knows how much we value his services to West Indies cricket.”
Chanderpaul has 11,867 runs from 164 Tests at an average of 51.37 and need another 86 runs to become the West Indian with the most Test runs. He also needs four centuries to join Lara who has 34 as the West Indian with the most Test centuries.
Chanderpaul has been unbeaten 49 times which is a record for top order batsmen. He is one of eight West Indians with a Test average of 50 or more. The great Jamaican George Headley, who was born in Panama and scored 10 centuries from 22 Tests, is the only West Indian to average over 60.
The last of Chanderpaul’s 30 Test tons was an unbeaten 101 against Bangladesh in St Lucia in September last year but the experienced left-hander was not able to reach 100 runs in his last two series he played. In the away three-Test series against South Africa he only managed 91 before making just 92 in the recent three-Test home series against England.
The big question is can the ‘Tiger’ roar one last time and get the 86 required in a possible four innings against the number one ranked Test team.
Chanderpaul usually displays a tunnel vision when it comes to batting and is not expected to be too distracted by this issue as he prepares for in a Test series which starts in less than two weeks in Dominica. Chanderpaul will remember that in 2011 he scored the first ever century on that 290-square-mile Island when he hit an undefeated 116 against India and was afforded honorary Citizenship of Dominica.
That same year Chanderpaul claimed in a rare public outburst that he was asked to retire by the then selectors after the end of the ICC World Cup and was subsequently dropped from the One-Day International side after he refused. He was never recalled to the ODI team despite his 8778 runs at an average of 41.60, 11 centuries and 59 half-centuries.