The tiger of West Indies cricket has roared!
The usually soft-spoken Shivnarine Chanderpaul has lashed out at comments made by the CEO of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB), Ernest Hilaire, concerning the lack of discipline and application within the regional team during the past 15 years.
In a strong-worded letter sent to Hilaire, Chanderpaul, the Windies’ second most capped international cricketer, behind the legendary Brian Lara, threatened to seek whatever recourse is necessary to clear his name if he did not receive an adequate explanation.
In his letter, a copy of which was obtained by the WEEKEND Nation, the 36-year-old Chanderpaul requested urgent treatment of the matter since it is his firm belief that Hilaire’s comments, if left unchallenged, could destroy his career and reputation as a professional cricketer.
“I am convinced that those persons who do not know the sacrifices I have made on behalf of West Indies cricket and my dedication to the cause of West Indies cricket would believe, based on what you have said in your interview, that I lack discipline and application and have not demonstrated the sense of responsibility which I know that I have shown throughout my career.
“While I would refer you to my unblemished reputation for professionalism and to all the other CEOs, coaches and managers with whom I have worked, I believe that you have crossed the line by making these public accusations that, while they may include others, are also directed at me and if unchallenged and corrected may destroy my career,” Chanderpaul wrote.
Chanderpaul, along with fellow Guyanese Ramnaresh Sarwan and another senior player Chris Gayle, who subsequently made himself unavailable for the rest of the Pakistan series, were not selected in any of the early matches in the current series.
Hilaire’s interview on the Line and Length Network, which was also circulated to the media by the WICB, focused on a number of the problems affecting West Indies cricket.
He had claimed that if one examined West Indies cricket since the mid-90s, a lot of the systems which were put in place had broken down.
“There’s no discipline, there’s no application. We’ve been doing that for 15 years and we’ve been losing. We need to put a new system in place.
“No one man is bigger than the team. No one man is such a superstar he can decide if he is training today, if he’s going to have treatment tomorrow, if he’s going to attend a team meeting. It cannot work that way,” Hilaire remarked.
But Chanderpaul, who made his international debut back in 1994, said he was extremely concerned about the remarks which would lead anyone reading them to conclude that he was guilty of what Hilaire was speaking about and that he had “disregarded the coaches and managerial staff or undermined team discipline by my actions and attitude”.
The dependable left-handed batsman’s achievements of 9 063 runs in 129 Tests and 8778 in 268 One-Day Internationals are only surpassed by Lara.
Chanderpaul also asked Hilaire if his statements were based on his personal opinion, or were made in his capacity as CEO of the regional board.
“This is important to me since I believe I have served the WICB and West Indies cricket faithfully and well during my career and it would be difficult for me to accept that the members of the board of directors of West Indies cricket have sanctioned those remarks.
“On what basis have you made those statements and with what purpose?” he asked.
“While it would help if the WICB as an organization repudiates your comments in this regard, it would still not be sufficient to erase the tremendous damage already done.
“I await your urgent response and reserve all of my rights in this matter,” Chanderpaul wrote.
The letter was also copied to the directors of the WICB and the West Indies Players Association and Guyana’s Minister of Sport Frank Anthony.