Legendary West Indies batting icon Brian Lara has described the axing of Shivnarine Chanderpaul as shameful and has called on the West Indies Cricket Board to give the left-handed Guyanese an honourary send-off by selecting him for the two-Test series against Australia.
The 40-year old Chanderpaul was left out of the West Indies 12-member squad for the first Test against the Australians which starts on June 3 in Dominica, effectively ending an illustrious career in which he scored 11,867 runs at an average of 51.37.
The selectors, led by former West Indies captain Clive Lloyd, justified their decision by pointing to the plunge in his form over his last 11 innings in which he averaged 16.
But Lara, who scored 11,953 Test runs, which Chanderpaul is just 87 runs away from passing, said the decision was another example of the way the WICB disrespects its players.
“This has nothing to do with numbers or averages. What are they saying that Chanderpaul was given the last 11 innings to get the desired number of runs to break a record?
“This has absolutely nothing to do with runs or numbers. It has to do with respect and Chanderpaul has earned the right to say goodbye in an acceptable way. In fact, he should be allowed to do it in his own way,” he added.
Lara noted that most of the other cricketing nations ensured an honourary farewell to their heroes and reflected on India when Sachin Tendulkar retired.
He asked: “What did they do? They organised a Test series in his honour and gave him a farewell in keeping with his contribution to the game.”
Lara described Chanderpaul as an extremely competitive individual for whom cricket was his life. “From Guyana in 1994 when he made his debut to his last Test innings he gave his heart to West Indies cricket and what do we do... drop him and that’s it,” he noted.
Lara said it was time the WICB started respecting the contribution of its great players.
“The manner in which they deal with their players is despicable and should no longer be tolerated. When you look back to so many of our heroes and the manner in which they were dumped, it makes you shudder.”
Lara called for Chanderpaul to be reinstated for the two Test matches against the Australians and the series be established as his final series.
“In that way, there will be no hostility and whether he makes a double century or a duck, it doesn’t matter, it will be his farewell series and the entire cricketing world will know that,” he added.
Lara said he would be pleased to be at the grounds when Chanderpaul played his last innings.
“He deserves it. The WICB and the Caribbean owe it to Shiv to send him off with dignity and respect. He has earned it,” added Lara.