There appeared to be massive confusion among the powers that be at the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) on Sunday surrounding veteran batsman Shivnarine Chanderpaul’s inclusion in the West Indies squad for the two-Test series against Australia next month.
The Region’s premier Test batsman was reportedly booked to travel on a LIAT flight out of the Ogle International Airport at 14:50h on Sunday, destined for Barbados to join the rest of the squad in a preparatory camp on the island ahead of the first Test, starting June 3 in Dominica.
However, a source told Guyana Times Sport that WICB President Whycliffe “Dave” Cameron phoned the left-hander a few hours before the flight, informing him that some of the WICB Directors who had previously backed the move to include him in the squad have now rescinded their decision.
Moments after, the WICB sent out a release confirming the 12-man squad for the first Test, excluding Chanderpaul.
Efforts to contact Chanderpaul and Cameron for a comment on the saga proved futile.
Meanwhile, Convenor of Selectors, Clive Lloyd, said he has communicated to Chanderpaul both verbally and in writing the reason for his omission.
“This was a tough decision for the Selection Panel to make,” Lloyd said. “We recognise the significant contribution Chanderpaul has made to the West Indies teams over the last two decades, but we want to take this opportunity to introduce a number of young, promising players into the squad.”
Late last week it was reported in sections of the press that Chanderpaul had been sacked by the Lloyd-led Selection Panel ahead of the Australia series, and was thanked for his service to West Indies cricket.
Days after, information surfaced that a few WICB Directors were successful in reversing the decision made by the selectors, thereby paving the way for the former captain to head off to camp.
All set and ready to travel on Sunday, Chanderpaul had his plans abruptly derailed by news of the Directors recanting their decision.
This latest development is reminiscent of 2011 when the then coach Ottis Gibson axed a trio of senior players, blaming them for the team’s poor performance in the 50-over World Cup.
Chanderpaul was part of the group, and that signalled the end of his ODI career. His Test career now potentially faces a similar fate.
The Guyanese batsman is 86 runs shy of eclipsing Brian Lara’s Test aggregate of 11,953 runs, which is the most by a West Indian.
However, it has not been all smooth sailing for the left-hander over the past few months, amassing just 183 runs in 11 innings.
Cameron last week proclaimed that Chanderpaul deserved a special send-off as his illustrious career draws to a close.
Cameron said he had not been pleased with how former players had been treated at the end of their careers.
“I have never really liked how we have ushered out our players, so as President I am always trying to figure out how to honour them,” he told the Jamaica Gleaner.
“We’re doing it now on a continuous basis, year by year, for their performances, but at the end of a long and illustrious career like Shivnarine Chanderpaul’s we want to ensure that whatever we do, it is well respected and that he knows and the Region knows how much we value his services to West Indies cricket.”
However, Cameron said Chanderpaul recently met with the West Indies hierarchy to discuss his future and more would be revealed in coming days.
“Unfortunately, I am not privy to the discussions, but obviously it is where he is at and what are the next steps,” Cameron said.
He added, “In another couple of days it will be made a lot clearer as to the end result of those discussions or how we go forward.”
The squad is: Devendra Bishoo, Jermaine Blackwood, Kraigg Brathwaite, Darren Bravo, Shannon Gabriel, Jason Holder, Shai Hope, Veerasammy Permaul, Denesh Ramdin, Kemar Roach, Marlon Samuels and Jerome Taylor.
(Taken from Guyana Times)