Brian Lara criticises treatment of Shivnarine Chanderpaul and West Indies cricket heroes
West Indies legend Brian Lara has lashed out at the way the West Indies cricket team have shut the door on Shivnarine Chanderpaul, and the way the nation’s cricket boards treat its cricketing heroes in general.
"This has absolutely nothing to do with runs or numbers," Lara told the Trinidad and Tobago Guardian. "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.”
In the lead-up to the series against Australia, West Indies Cricket Board selection panel Chairman Clive Lloyd explained the need for the 40-year-old Chanderpaul to make way for younger players in the team. Coach Phil Simmons is also in favour of Chanderpaul’s exclusion.
Chanderpaul, who has been a constant presence in the world of cricket since his debut in 1994 with the anti-glare stickers gleaming under his eye, the oversized helmet, and the crab-like stance, had asked that he be allowed to bow out of international cricket with the Australia series, but his request was declined.
The run-machine from Guyana and was among West Indies' most dependable batsmen for over two decades. Chanderpaul also holds the world record for batting 1000+ minutes between dismissals — he did it 4 times in his career.
Lara said, "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.”
Chanderpaul should be given a farewell like Tendulkar: Lara
Lara suggested that the WICB take a leaf out of BCCI’s book, and give a ceremonial farewell to Chanderpaul, like the one afforded to Sachin Tendulkar. The highest run-scorer in history bowed out after playing his 200th Test match against the West Indies in his hometown Mumbai amid much fanfare in November 2013 – a 3-Test series where the highest run-scorer for the West Indies was Shivnarine Chanderpaul himself.
He said, "They (BCCI) organised a Test series in his (Tendulkar's) honour and gave him a farewell in keeping with his contribution to the game.
"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 deserves it. The WICB and the Caribbean owe it to Shiv to send him off with dignity and respect. He has earned it."
Chanderpaul (11867 runs from 164 Tests) is within touching distance of eclipsing Lara's 11953 runs from 131 matches as the highest run-scorer in West Indies history, but it would appear his nation itself would rather recognise him as second-best to Lara.