“Form is temporary, class is permanent.”
This was the immediate response delivered by Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC) president Brian Lewis yesterday, upon hearing the sad revelation of Shivnarine Chanderpaul’s omission from the West Indies team for the upcoming two-Test Series against Australia which bowls off from June 3.
On Sunday in Barbados, chairman of selectors and fellow Guyanese Clive Lloyd, revealed in a press conference that the veteran left-handed batsman was dropped from the regional squad following an ‘average’ showing at the just concluded three-match series against England.
However, with 164 Test matches — the most by any West Indian player — 11,867 runs and an average of 51, Chanderpaul’s mediocre overall tally of 96 in the previous three Tests against England is certain to have been the straw that broke the Guyanese’s back.
Additionally, the 40-year-old is presently just 86 runs shy of Brian Lara’s regional record of 11,953 Test runs and his abrupt and unexpected omission was indeed felt throughout the Caribbean.
According to Lewis, ‘Chanders’ is a living West Indies legend and should have been treated with a bit more dignity from the WICB.
“For someone who has 164 Test matches under his belt, to simply say that he hasn’t performed over the past 11 innings, is not justified to me,” said Lewis yesterday.
“I think the approach used in delivering this message to Shivanrine was the wrong one.
“Chanderpaul has stood for and by the West Indies through thick and thin and the way in which he was omitted, personally, sends a wrong message.”
Drawing reference to India’s legendary send-off for their former captain and cricketing hero, Sachin Tendulkar, Lewis questioned the WICB selectors as to why Chanderpaul’s career was not highlighted in a similar manner, as compared to the ugly media frenzy and shock created by his sacking.
“From what we have seen in other cricketing nations, this is not how they do these things,” Lewis added.
“We seem to have a history of not treating our cricket icons and legends in a dignified and a class manner when they reach the end of their twilight career. I believe it should have been handled differently. He was left out of the squad in a very undignified manner.”
According to the TTOC boss, he believes that the ‘Tiger’ should have been given a final chance at the coming Australia series.
Referring to Lloyd’s defensive remarks at Sunday’s meeting about ‘introducing a number of young, promising players into the squad’, Lewis shared similar sentiments but was openly upset in the manner that Chanderpaul was indirectly handed his exit from the game.