It looks like the end of the line has come for veteran batsman Shivnarine Chanderpaul after he was dumped by the West Indies selectors for next month’s two-Test series against Australia.
Chanderpaul, 40, whose career has spanned 21 years and includes 164 Tests, 268 ODI’s and 22 T20 matches, was not included in a 12-man training squad announced by West Indies selectors earlier today.
And in a hastily called press conference at the Accra Beach Hotel this afternoon, Chairman of selectors Clive Lloyd said the decision to drop the veteran left-handed batsman was made due to a decline in form in recent times.
In 164 Tests, the most by any West Indian, Chanderpaul has scored 11,867 runs, including 30 centuries and 66 half centuries at an average of 51.37.
He was just 86 runs shy of equaling Brian Lara’s record (11,953) for the most runs by a West Indian.
While Lloyd revealed that he had already spoken to Chanderpaul, he admitted that the Guyanese, affectionately known as ‘Tiger,’ was not in favour with the decision.
Chanderpaul is yet to announce his retirement from international cricket.
“Over a period of time, we have noticed a decline in his form. For the last 11 innings he has been averaging 16 and we thought the time has come really to look towards the younger players and that’s why he wasn’t included,” Lloyd, who was flanked at the head table by new West Indies coach Phil Simmons explained.
“I don’t think it was just the last couple of games. Going way back I watched him against India and South Africa and he hasn’t really done as well as we expected.”
“At 40 years-old you aren’t going to be in the same shape as when you were younger, and if you have seen him play, you would realize that there was a decline…” he added.
Lloyd said the selectors; Courtney Walsh, Courtney Browne and Eldine Baptiste – all of whom were present at the meeting – had sat down and thoroughly discussed the issue, and had made a decision that now was the best time to look for younger blood.
When asked if the possibility of Chanderpaul playing his final Test match in the Caribbean, and being granted the opportunity to surpass Lara’s record was given any consideration, Lloyd said that while it was, those reasons were not strong enough to merit Chanderpaul a place in the side.
“Oh yes we considered that, but that should never be the sole thinking as to why we should choose him. We’ve given him quite a lot of games really to get close to the record, and he hasn’t looked the part and that’s why we’ve decided that now is the time to move on,” he noted.
And while Simmons too acknowledged that Chanderpaul had celebrated “a long and illustrious career,” he maintained that the main goal of any West Indies team was to win.
This he said, meant the selectors had to choose the best possible team at all times, and in this instance, Chanderpaul did not qualify.
“We know that he has done a lot for West Indies cricket, but at the same time we as the selectors have to pick a team to win against Australia and when you go through that process he didn’t fit in.
“So it’s not about giving someone the chance to finish their career, it’s about the picking the best team to play in the game,” Simmons contended.