Despite being a part of the regional set-up for more than two-decades, former West Indies batting star Shivnarine Chanderpaul believes he still had a lot left to offer on the international scene at the time of his premature retirement.
Chanderpaul pulled the plug on his polished international career last year at the age of 41, after consistently being overlooked by the selection panel headed then by former West Indies captain Clive Lloyd.
The now 42-year-old Guyanese known for his unorthodox stance has since been hailed for his invaluable contribution to the game globally, having scored over 20,000 runs in international cricket during his decorated career.
A left-handed batsman, Chanderpaul was one of a few West Indian players that possessed the ability to hold the crease for lengthy periods.
His most famous stand came in a Test series against India in 2002 when he batted for more than 25 hours in the series between dismissals — facing 1,050 consecutive deliveries without losing his wicket.
“At that point (of retirement) I still had a lot to contribute [because] the team needs players to hold it together,” the veteran told journalists after assisting the Guyana Jaguars to a seven-wicket win over Jamaica Scorpions in a Digicel Regional Four-day fixture at Sabina Park on Monday.
“A lot of things have been said in the past about me that the reflexes are gone, so I am happy for the opportunity given by the Guyana Cricket Board to come and show the public that it is not so,” he added.
Chanderpaul — who has played some 164 Tests for the West Indies and 14 of which he led as captain — dispelled claims that he was unavailable for the Australian series last year, where he was hoping for a more formal send-off.
“I heard people saying that they called at my home to talk to me and couldn’t find me, but I was in Barbados with the West Indies team.
“So if you are calling at my home and you are the chairman of selectors, you know where I am, so call me there, don’t call my home in Guyana. You were selling rumours to the people and the public. I can’t be with a West Indies team on a tour in Barbados and you are calling me in Guyana, so for me that was ridiculous,” the man popularly known as “The Tiger” to fans declared.
With 30 Test centuries at an average of 51.37 in the format, complemented by 22 Twenty20 Internationals and 268 One Day Internationals (ODI) appearances comprising 8,778 runs at 41.60, Chanderpaul expressed his wiliness to assist in the development of young players should the opportunity present itself.
“Well I am always open to help, but with Jimmy (Adams) there, he knows what to do and he knows the players. He knows they need go out and play a little more; all our players in the past had gone overseas and developed their cricket and they have become a dominant force in world cricket.
“So that is what we need our [younger] players to do — go overseas play some cricket and learn the game well,” Shiv explained.
He also declared his admiration of Jamaica’s wicketkeeper/batsman Chadwick Walton and middle-order batsman Jermaine Blackwood. The former achieved his maiden first-class ton in the first innings of the recently concluded game.
“We always have a lot of young talent in the West Indies, but they are going to take a little time to grow because they are still young. I have watched these two guys — Blackwood and Chadwick — in the Super50, and Chadwick against England in the Vice-Chancellor game and in this game here.
“His (Walton) batting has come on and he is doing well and he hasn’t got an opportunity to play. I think he should also get a chance in there (West Indies team) because you need someone who will score runs and hold the team together,” he noted.
Finally, the veteran player, who represents Lancashire in the English Domestic League, remains uncertain as to when he will retire from all forms of the game. However, he is optimistic that he can assist the Jaguars to a third-consecutive regional title before departing for England.
“I am not too sure when is the last game; it all depends, but I would love to leave raising a trophy,” he ended. (Jamaica Observer)