The decision to omit Shivnarine Chanderpaul from the training squad that has been selected in preparation for the Australia series, practically bringing an end to the legend's career, has been met with mixed response. While the man in charge of selecting the team, Clive Lloyd, has categorically stated that there is no place for the veteran southpaw in the West Indies squad, for he is not good enough any longer, he has been backed up by another former teammate Michael Holding, who also believes Shiv's time is up. However, Brian Lara, who played alongside Chanderpaul for nearly two decades, has a differing view.
According to Lara, Chanderpaul has earned his farewell by the manner in which he has toiled for the team over the last 20 years. The former captain is absolutely dismayed with the manner in which the selectors have treated a giant of the game. Lara's outburst has again raised the pertinent question -- do giants of the game deserve a proper farewell once they are past their prime, or should they be told to ship out in straightforward words? This is an extremely tough choice since it is a choice between emotion and practicality. On one hand, you know the fact that a player has served his team diligently for many years, and on the other hand, there is the harsh reality of knowing that he's not good enough and yet has been given a spot.
While speaking about the ill-treatment meted out to Chanderpaul, Lara cited Sachin Tendulkar's farewell, and praised BCCI's effort of specially arranging one for him. It may be recalled that the Indian cricket board invited the West Indies so that Tendulkar could have his farewell at home. While many were in awe of this arrangement, and the memorable manner in which Tendulkar was given a send-off, such a move has also found its critics. Those opposed to the hastily-organised series have cited that a weak side had been chosen so that Tendulkar had it easy in his farewell series. He should actually have bowed out against a stronger side, even if he had struggled.
Even as Lara may be getting sentimental over Chanderpaul, the fact is that he is not the first legend to be dumped unceremoniously. Australians have been known to keep sentiments and history across completely while choosing a side. They did so in the case of big names like Mark Waugh and Michael Bevan. Even Pakistan did not hesitate in looking beyond Saqlain Mushtaq and Waqar Younis once they were past their prime. The case with Chanderpaul is rather similar. There is another theory which states that the 40-year-old should have announced his retirement once West Indies had drawn the series against England. Again, it will be difficult to point a finger on Chanderpaul since he is so much in love with his game.
All said and done, the fact of the matter is that here we are talking about a man who has given his sweat to the country from almost half of his life so far. And thus, there are bound to be extreme reactions over the manner in which Chanderpaul was told he was no longer needed. It was a harsh reality, albeit one that won't be easy to digest. It definitely wasn't the way Chanderpaul deserved to go, but perhaps it was destined to be this way.
--By A Cricket Analyst