The Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) on Monday lashed out at the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) Selection Panel for omitting veteran batsman Shivnarine Chanderpaul from the squad for the first Test against Australia next month.
The GCB, in a release to the media, said it strongly denounces the “ridiculous and senseless selection policies and decisions of the Clive Lloyd-led selection panel”.
“Our Board just cannot believe nor even fathom the thought process behind the wanton dropping of the most senior, reliable and dependable batsman of the West Indies for the past 21 years by the West Indies selectors. It is absolutely unbelievable that Shivnarine Chanderpaul has not been selected even in the squad to face one of the sternest opposition that the West Indies will have to face in the near future,” the release stated.
The GCB questioned the way in which such a dedicated servant of West Indies cricket is being treated, noting that it is a “matter of gross disrespect”.
Chanderpaul is a veteran of 164 Test matches, the most by a West Indian, and he has accumulated 11, 867 runs at an average of 51 with 30 hundreds and 66 fifties. He is 86 runs shy of eclipsing Brian Lara’s West Indian Test aggregate of 11,953 runs.
The release continued, “Is this the way that the selectors intend to treat our esteemed cricketers after more than two decades of service to the people of West Indies cricket, and to be done by no other than Clive Lloyd, who is the current Chairman of the WICB selectors? We trust that our selectors can find it within themselves to revisit this crucial matter of gross disrespect now being meted out to one of the greatest cricketers to have graced the field of play with this most ungrateful display to Chanderpaul. Shiv’s record speaks for itself and we are shocked at the manner that this panel is seeking to destroy him.”
The GCB noted that it was aware that Chanderpaul had a recent discussion with newly-appointed Head Coach Phil Simmons about his future in the game, and an appropriate exit strategy would have been worked out by all parties.
“Surely it was imminent on the WICB through its esteemed selectors to have executed any such decision in a decent and fair manner with just and reasonable consideration for the wishes of Chanderpaul. That is the least we would have expected,” the release highlighted.
Subsequent to the press release, the GCB hosted a media briefing on Monday afternoon where Secretary Anand Sanasie, who is also a WICB Director, revealed the events leading up to the final decision, while President Drubahadur expressed his disappointment with the move by the Selection Panel.
According to Sanasie, as a matter of policy of the WICB, the selectors are duty bound to select the teams, and the Directors do not have the power to make changes.
“A request was made that in this case Mr Chanderpaul, having not being told that his career would have come to an abrupt end at the end of the England tour, a request was made to the selectors that they at least grant his last request, which was to play in the Australia series, at the end of which he would have retired. This was refused on the grounds that the selectors and the Chairman, Mr Lloyd thought that because of his form and not producing runs in his last six Test matches, he should be dropped,” Sanasie explained.
It was initially reported last week that Chanderpaul was dropped for the upcoming two-Test series against the Aussies, only for that decision to be reversed with the intervention of some WICB Directors.
Chanderpaul was subsequently due to travel to Barbados on Sunday to join the rest of the squad, but was informed by WICB President Whycliffe “Dave” Cameron moments before the flight that the original decision stands, as the selectors have stuck with their initial agreement.
“Well, when we brought the matter to the Board initially, myself and the Vice President [Emmanuel] Nanthan had discussions with the President [Cameron], who had further discussions with many Directors of the Board, and the secretariat at the Board instructed that Mr Chanderpaul travel. His flight was booked, instructions were sent and Mr Chanderpaul was expected to go in yesterday [Sunday],” Sanasie divulged.
He continued, “Subsequent to that, a further meeting of the Board was summoned and at that meeting the selectors expressed their views, and a further decision was taken not to change their decision to drop Mr Chanderpaul. Some Directors pleaded for a review and this was not granted. Mr Lloyd thought when you look at performance, Chanderpaul needs to move on, and that is what came out of the meeting.”
Since the decision to sack the left-hander became public, many Guyanese have shared the view that it was not based purely on cricketing reasons, but rather a concerted effort to force Chanderpaul into retirement.
Sanasie added, “I would support such opinions for the mere fact that if someone would have played for 21 years and you want him to go off and you know he would have played five Test matches in the Caribbean, at the start of the England tour, I would assume that you should have told him that listen ‘you’ve served us for a long time; at the end of this tour we’re considering not selecting you any further.’ This was not done, and it was admitted by the Selection Panel and the coach in our meetings in Barbados. Now, having erred in that I think the least, you could have done was grant him the Australia tour to gracefully retire. Given the strong feelings of the selectors, I do not know what to believe, because I could think myself that there is more to this than natural performance.”
Has not retired
Despite Chanderpaul’s snub, Sanasie gave the assurance that the veteran left-hander will not be subjected to the same level of neglect by the GCB.
“Well, the fact is Chanderpaul has not retired from playing cricket. He would be selected as normal in our [Guyana] squad for the regional tournaments and once he is performing, he’ll be selected. I don’t know what will be the West Indies Cricket Board’s position or the selectors’ position if he performs well in the regional tournaments. If the policies are followed, then he should be selected if he performs well in the regional tournaments, which is the medium for being selected in the West Indies team,” Sanasie disclosed.
GCB President Drubahadur also shared his views on the matter, and he did not hold back from chastising the Selection Panel for their decision.
“It’s extremely shocking for us here at the Board and for Guyanese at large for a man who has given that kind of service to the West Indies over the years. This is a man who has given you 21 years, sticking it out with you and the new coach is now saying he is willing to speak to guys who created embarrassment for the West Indies Cricket Board to play back cricket for the West Indies. Further to that, the West Indies Cricket Board under Lloyd sent a team to see Sachin Tendulkar off in India, and we can’t do the same thing for our icon in this part of the world?” Drubahadur intimated.
The move is reminiscent of 2011 when the then coach Ottis Gibson sacked a trio of senior players, including Chanderpaul, blaming them for the side’s poor performance in the 50-over World Cup. Chanderpaul has not appeared in an ODI since, and his Test career now faces a similar fate.
The Selection Panel, headed by Lloyd, includes Courtney Walsh, Courtney Browne, and Eldine Baptiste.
(Taken from Guyana Times)