Shivnarine Chanderpaul is a legend in the sport of cricket to my mind but I think he has stayed on far too long and in the end he would leave cricket as a player who did not time his exit as well as he did many of the 27,395 balls he faced in Test cricket.
The left hander is hanging around Test cricket at the age of 40, and 277 days and counting, as he need just 87 more runs to surpass Brian Lara and become the leading run scorer for West Indies in Tests. Lara hung-up his bat at 11,953 runs during his career and Chanderpaul has 11,867 at the moment. He was chosen to play against England recently but failed miserably, as he did in South Africa (averaging around 16 in the two tours).
The question now is whether the West Indies selectors should be emotional and pick him, a decision that would him to pass Lara's record, or will they think 'Team' first and get one of the young players into the team for the two Test matches against Australia.
Just as the South Africans did, the Australians will be coming here to bounce Chanderpaul out. He has to realise that he does not possess the reflexes he once had and no one can blame him, having spent 40 Christmases on earth.
One might argue that no one is breaking down the door to come in and replace Chanderpaul but I think the left hander should call it quits and allow the selectors to move on and bring in new blood.
I think that the selectors should be brave enough to say to Chanderpaul that he was served cricket wonderfully well but it is time to move on. I hope and pray that he moves on and does not try to hang around and spoil what was a great career. He wants to be remembered as the man who saved West Indies many times in battle and not one that went to war and could not assist.
I am off the view that this current West Indies selection panel has the will power to face the wrath of Chanderpaul's fans and axe him for the upcoming series, if he does not make way himself.
If he is not chosen, one has to understand that selectors cannot be emotional. A man just scored 354 not out in the English County Championship and has been told he has no future on the England team. This tells me that the English management has decided to look after the interest of team and not individual. Kevin Pietersen is seen as a man who can affect team unity and has been told that for 'trust' reasons he cannot play for England again.
I have noticed a change in the mood of West Indian administration in recent times. They have decided to take a hardline approach after the Indian fiasco and one cannot really blame them. When Dwayne Bravo and Keiron Pollard were dropped from the West Indies team, their fans were mad, however one has to understand that no player is bigger than the game and must face the consequence of childish behaviour.
Back to Chanderpaul, at the end of the day this West Indies team is not good enough to be 'carrying' a player. So what if Chanderpaul does not break Lara's record? After all isn't Lara West Indian and got his runs in 33 Tests faster than Chanderpaul? What is the big fuss over this record that Chanderpaul is chasing? Well for me it makes no sense really because if you look at the stats Lara will still be miles ahead.
I wished Chanderpaul had scored more runs against England and not because I wanted him to surpass Lara's record, but help the West Indies because with a little help from him, we could have saved the Grenada Test and win the series.
I am sorry but for me, team interest always comes first and while I admire Chanderpaul as a great servant of West Indies cricket, I think that the time has come for him to pass his bat unto Tagnarine and assist him, rather than continue.
The West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) must honour this man. Dave Cameron and his boys must get together and give him a meaningful farewell and start a new era of caring for players who don the maroon cap. They must not allow Chanderpaul to walk away empty handed for all he has done for Caribbean cricket.
Last year, Cameron made it a point to honour former WICB president Dr. Julien Hunte for his contribution to cricket administration and this tells me that they are moving in a direction that would see gratitude over power ungratefulness. Bye Shiv it you are and will always be a giant in West Indies