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Rapid decline in form
BRIDGETOWN—Chief selector Clive Lloyd says allowing Shiv Chanderpaul to continue playing in order to surpass Brian Lara as the highest run-getter in West Indies cricket, was not a good enough reason to retain the veteran left-hander.
Chanderpaul was on Sunday axed from the West Indies squad for next month’s two-Test series against Australia, a decision that is likely to end the player’s illustrious 21-year, 164-Test career with him 87 runs shy of overtaking Lara’s 11 953. He has scored 11 867 runs at an average of 51, with 30 Test centuries.
“We’ve taken that into consideration but that should never be the sole thing why you want to choose somebody,” said the legendary former West Indies captain. “As you may notice, he has been given quite a lot of games to probably try and get close to that and he hasn’t looked the part that’s why we’ve decided that now is the time to change.”
In explaining Chanderpaul’s axing, Lloyd said the player had experienced a “rapid decline”, averaging just 16 from his last 11 innings. And with the Guyanese already in the twilight of his career at age 40, Lloyd said the panel had also taken a decision to infuse the team with younger players.
Even if Chanderpaul extended his first class career, Lloyd said the focus would remain on developing younger players. “If he decides to continue, people have done that before. They’ve not been selected but they’ve continued to play first class cricket,” Lloyd explained during Sunday's hastily arranged media conference.
“Our aim as selectors is to continue to play our young players and give them that exposure and I think you can’t get better exposure than playing against one of the best teams in the world, probably the second best team in the world [in Australia]. “They will be tested and that’s what it’s all about. Going forward, we want to play our youngsters and a lot of them are doing well and we feel now is the time to give them that exposure.”
Lloyd said they were several young hopefuls knocking on the door like Shai Hope, wicketkeeper/batsman Shane Dowrich and Tyrone Theophile. The 21-year-old Hope made his debut in the third Test against England, scoring five and nine, as West Indies pulled off a series levelling five-wicket victory.
Dowrich, who averages 35 in first class cricket, and Theophile, who averages 27, are both in the President’s XI squad to face Australia in a three-day game which bowls off Wednesday in Antigua.
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