Chanderpaul hails JCA for recognising invaluable contribution to cricket
Former West Indies batting star Shivnarine Chanderpaul expressed gratitude to the Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA) for recognising his invaluable contribution to the game globally during a polished career spanning over two decades.
The Guyanese player was awarded a plaque bearing his image by JCA’s president Wilford “Billy” Heaven following the Jaguars seven-wicket win over Jamaica Scorpions in the Digicel Regional Four-day competition at Sabina Park on Monday.
Known for his unorthodox stance, the left-handed batsman, who has played some 164 Test matches for the West Indies — 14 of which he led as captain — retired from international cricket last year as one of the region’s finest players at the age of 41.
Now 42, Chanderpaul has scored over 20,000 runs in international cricket during his decorated career, with his 11,867 runs rating him as the second-highest West Indian scorer and seventh highest in the Test format. He was a mere 86 runs shy of Brian Lara’s 11,953.
“I am very happy about it (the award) and I am very thankful that the JCA has recognised me. It is always special when, at the back end of your career, you get something and people recognise you in and around the Caribbean.
“You have done over 20 years of service for the people of the Caribbean and it is only fitting you can get something to show for it,” the veteran batsman, who is only the second modern-day player, after Sachin Tendulkar, whose career stretched over two decades, told journalists.
With 30 Test centuries at an average of 51.37 in the format, complemented by 22 Twenty-20 International and 268 ODI appearances comprising 8,778 runs at 41.60, there can be no dispute that Chanderpaul was one of the strongest pillars of West Indies cricket.
When quizzed about not getting any recognition from the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB), Chanderpaul, recollecting the circumstances leading up to his retirement, believes that the opportunity to feature in the series against Australia at the time would have been even more fitting.
After not playing for the West Indies for quite some time, Chanderpaul, though entertaining the chance of a comeback prior to the Australian series, was overlooked by the selection panel headed by former West Indies Captain Clive Lloyd.“I was hoping to play the last series against Australia would have been the right way to go, saying thank you to everyone who has supported you throughout your career. So playing another series and coming out like that would have been the fitting way to go,” he noted.
He continued: “[But] there is nothing I could do; the president (Dave Cameron) explained to me what was happening and I told him I didn’t want to cause any confusion and if anything changes, he should let me know.
“He put me back in the team and then the guys were threatening mutiny on him and I didn’t want that [confusion] because that is not what I play West Indies cricket for and that is not what I want for West Indies cricket.”
Meanwhile, Heaven explained that the tribute was befitting to the outstanding cricketer “as he nears the end of an illustrious career”.
“He brought to the game not only in skills and prowess, but a high level of dedication, commitment and resilience, and throughout he has played with such level of maturity and professionalism.
“Those attributes and qualities cannot be lost on the game and he has contributed a lot of times to the defeat of the Jamaican team, but we still recognise that contribution within the wider context of the game of cricket and its development,” Heaven told reporters.
“I can’t speak for the WICB; I am in charge of the Jamaica Cricket Association and I am doing it in that capacity what I believe is reasonable to recognise the great contribution to the great man of the game,” he added.
Refuting any negative comments that critics might have, Heaven, who has been at the helm of the JCA for over two years, argued that his association will be looking at putting a system of recognition in place for other players, particularly local players.
“We are of the view that this would have been the best time to recognise Shiv; we are not even sure if there will be another such occasion, so we want to capitalise on this occasion.
“It doesn’t mean that we are forfeiting other occasions and we are not going to recognise other players as they come along, because we will. But, perhaps, we may want to say we have fast-forwarded this one to suit the occasion,” he declared.