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Thank you Shiv, you have done your part

Monday, May 25, 2015
Shivnarine Chanderpaul

It is hardly surprising that the news that veteran West Indies batsman Shivnarine Chanderpaul has been omitted by the selectors for the upcoming two-match Test series against Australia has evoked such widespread debate now raging across the cricketing world.

Chanders has been nothing less than an outstanding servant of Caribbean cricket, coming into the West Indies team as a teenage prodigy and providing backbone to an often fickle batting line up that has frustrated fans for longer than West Indians would care to remember.

His 11,867 Test runs at an average of 51, which includes 30 centuries is ample testimony, not only to his quality as a batsman, but also to the understanding of his own strengths and weaknesses and to his work load as a player. But even in his most optimistic mode, the plucky left hander must know that as he heads for his 41st birthday, all good things must come to an end.

164 Tests after making his debut, he remains 87 runs shy of being the leading scorer in Test cricket among West Indian batsman, a distinction held by Brian Lara, arguably the best batsman to have emerged from the region.

The reality is that being second to Lara, by any stretch of the imagination, must be an achievement of which there can be no shame. In his last 11 innings for the West Indies, Chanderpaul has averaged just 16, and truth be told, he has struggled throughout those 11 appearances at the crease, often times looking a shadow of the assured, focused individual who has scored runs against the best bowlers of the modern game.

The arrival of young players such as Kraigg Brathwaithe, Jason Holder and Jermaine Blackwood, all of whom have scored hundreds in the last two series, is a positive sign for West Indies cricket. There are several more young players in the wing, awaiting their turn to ignite their career, in the same way that Chanderpaul did as a 19-year old against England in 1994.

The lure of the international stage can often be difficult to turn away. But for Chanderpaul, who will turn 41 on August 16, the reality is that there is nothing more to prove. He will forever remain a legend of West Indies cricket, one whose very batting stance contradicted all the theories about batsmanship. Yet in defiance of all the experts, he stood tall.

There is no need for defiance now. It is the right time to give an opportunity to the future of the sport here in the Caribbean. The West Indies rebuilding process has started.

Thank you Shiv, you have played your part, and we daresay with distinction!


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