Why Was Chanders Dropped?
Thu, Apr 8, '04
West Indies fans the world over were shocked when the West Indies selectors announced that Shivnarine Chanderpaul, arguably the West Indies most dependable batsman, had been dropped from the squad for the fourth Test against England in Antigua.
According to the WICB, the Guyanese left-hander was dropped because he refused to see a doctor after he appeared "tired and lethargic" during the Barbados Test which the WI lost in three days. On closer examination, however, one has to wonder if there is more to the proverbial mortar than the proverbial pestle.
Chanderpaul, who has been a faithful and gritty upholder of the West Indian standard, has played for the West Indies since 1994, scoring some 4647 runs at an average of 42.25. Like all the batsmen in this series, he has been short of good form, only twice getting to reasonable scores of 42 and 50.
One wonders then how serious is this perceived malady that must be afflicting a player of Chanderpaul's caliber that the selectors would not afford him the chance of proving his fitness ahead of a Test match with the West Indies staring down the barrel of an unprecedented home whitewash.
If any player could inject some fighting spirit into this team, it would be Shivnarine Chanderpaul.
Let's examine the facts. West Indies lost the match late on Saturday. By then, the selectors must have had a close look at Chanderpaul and determined that he looked "tired and lethargic." They then named the team two days later minus Chanderpaul, followed shortly after by the infamous press release about his reluctance to see Dr Harper in Barbados.
According to the WICB, Chanderpaul "showed some reluctance" to comply with this directive and was allowed to return home to Guyana for further evaluation. But, considering Chanderpaul's status as a senior player, if in fact Chanderpaul wanted to see his own physician, couldn't they have named him in the team, in the meantime asking Sylvester Joseph to standby while Chanders sorts out whatever is ailing him?
Surely his physician would have been able to examine him speedily and get the results back to the selectors and once cleared to play; Chanders would have been able to take his place in the side on Saturday. Why the rush to axe him from the team?
Since the South African tour, rumors have been swirling around about some of the senior players being unhappy about the leadership of the team. According to those in the know, Chanderpaul was ready to quit the South Africa tour altogether due to this unhappiness, and a deteriorating relationship with the captain. In addition, it has been an open secret that there has been general unhappiness among the directors with Brian Lara's leadership, and that certain directors have been agitating for Chanderpaul to be elevated to the captaincy.
It looks like all the infighting has claimed a victim, and unfortunately it's the fan favorite and doughty fighter, Chanderpaul. If indeed Chanderpaul has been axed because of this, here again is a case of directorial interference ruining the game for the fans. It happened when Carl Hooper was unjustifiably sacked and Lara reinstated in his place, and it has happened again during a time of significant crises with the sidelining of Chanderpaul.
If this state of affairs is not enough to arouse the West Indian fans out of their slumber, nothing will. It has become very apparent that our cricket and cricketers are being mishandled, and our beloved team is sinking further into the abyss.
Last week, Tony Cozier called for an outside audit of the WICB and its operations. I am joining him in that call, and I'll go a step further and recommend that the West Indies team take a sabbatical from world cricket while they get their house in order.
With 2007 looming on the horizon and with things just getting worse at all levels, we as West Indians face an embarrassment of epic proportions.