Shivnarine Chanderpaul axed from West Indies squad
Bridgetown (Barbados), May 25 (IANS) Veteran left-hander Shiv Chanderpaul's illustrious 21-year career appeared all but over after he was dumped from the West Indies Test squad for the upcoming two-match series against Australia, starting next month.
West Indies chairman of selectors Clive Lloyd said on Sunday that the 40-year-old had suffered a "rapid" decline in form and as a result they had decided to look to the future. This decision, Lloyd said, had been communicated to Chanderpaul, reports CMC.
"Over a period of time, we have noticed a decline in his form and for the last 11 innings he has been averaging 16. The time had come to look towards the younger players and that's why he has been omitted. His decline in form has been quite rapid," Lloyd explained.
"I just don't think it is the last couple of games (that he has failed). This is going way back. I watched the games against India, South Africa and he hasn't done as well as we expected."
Lloyd continued: "I don't think there was any bitterness. He'd realised the time has come. At 40, it's obvious you're not going to be in the same shape as you were 20 years ago. And if you've seen him play, you'd notice there was a decline, there's no doubt about that.
"People find it very difficult at time to retire so we thought here it is, we must now make a decision. We've made a decision and we're looking towards the younger people that we have. We have a lot of good young cricketers and it is time that we now inject youth into our cricket."
The announcement put to rest several days of speculation over Chanderpaul's future.
"The point is that we have a job to do, we have to look after West Indies cricket, that comes first, and the point is that Chanderpaul, whenever he retires will be given the accolades that he should receive, and it is only fitting that we should do so," said the former Windies captain.
"The guy has been a great servant to our cricket and when that time comes, he should be given that sort of a send-off that is expected of a player of his calibre."
Chanderpaul has played 164 Tests - the most by a West Indies player - and has amassed 11,867 runs at an average of 51. He is 86 runs short of overtaking Brian Lara (11,953) as the all-time run-getter in Windies cricket.
A heavy scorer throughout a sterling career, Chanderpaul has struggled in the last two series, managing 91 in three Tests against South Africa and 92 in a similar series against England. Last September, however, he plundered 270 runs - including his 30th Test hundred - in two Tests against Bangladesh without being dismissed and averaged 48 last June when New Zealand visited the Caribbean for three Tests.
When West Indies were hammered 0-2 on the tour of New Zealand in late 2013, Chanderpaul was one of the few bright spots with an average of 64.
Meanwhile, there were no surprises in the 12-man squad. West Indies face Australia in the first Test, starting June 3 at Windsor Park in Dominica before clashing in the second Test at Sabina Park in Jamaica, beginning June 11.
The squad: Denesh Ramdin, Devendra Bishoom, Jermaine Blackwood, Kraigg Brathwaite, Darren Bravo, Shannon Gabriel, Jason Holder, Shai Hope, Veerasammy Permaul, Kemar Roach, Marlon Samuels, Jerome Taylor.