ROSEAU (Dominica) — West Indies officially turned the page on the past Saturday when Shivnarine Chanderpaul, the team’s second-highest run-maker, was as expected left out of the Test squad to face Australia.
All of the 14 players named — except opener Rajindra Chandrika and wicketkeeper/batsman Shane Dowrich — featured in the recent drawn series against England. Chandrika and Dowrich are yet to earn their maiden Test caps.
As anticipated, there was no place for Guyanan 40-year-old Chanderpaul, a veteran of 164 Tests who has been a fixture of the squad since his 1994 debut.
Chanderpaul has amassed 11 867 Test runs — an agonising 86 behind West Indies’ record run-getter Brian Lara.
But his fate was sealed when he managed just 92 runs in three matches against England at an average of 15.33.
Both Dowrich (78 and 53 not out) and Chandrika (74) made timely runs for the West Indies President’s XI against the Australians in this week’s drawn tour match in Antigua.
Chanderpaul had wanted to play in the series as a farewell on his terms.
“My request to finish up with the Australian series is not asking too much,” Chanderpaul was quoted as saying in the local newspaper Kaiteur News.
“It gives me a chance to acknowledge my supporters at home ... I should not be pushed into retirement.”
Lara said Chanderpaul should play even if his Test run record for the West Indies would be extinguished.
“It 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.
“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.”
West Indies and Australia will play two Tests - in Dominica from Wednesday an at Sabina Park, Jamaica, from June 11-15.
Australia haven’t played a Test since January.
The West Indies on Saturday named a 14-man squad for the first Test against Australia, starting Wednesday at Windsor Park:
Denesh Ramdin (captain), Devendra Bishoo, Jermaine Blackwood, Kraigg Brathwaite, Darren Bravo, Rajindra Chandrika, Shane Dowrich, Shannon Gabriel, Jason Holder, Shai Hope, Veerasammy Permaul, Kemar Roach, Marlon Samuels, Jerome Taylor
1st Test: Windsor Park, Dominica, June 3-7
2nd Test: Sabina Park, Jamaica, June 11-15