EDITORIAL – Stop the verbal warfare!
THE ONGOING public quarrel between the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) and veteran player Shivnarine Chanderpaul is dragging the image of Caribbean cricket further through the mud.
Nothing positive can come from this tit for tat.
The public are already disillusioned over the lacklustre performance of the team, and this unseemly quarrel will only serve to further undermine their confidence and support.
Another unfortunate victim of this wrangle would be the policy decision that was crafted to change the team’s fortunes. Whether one disagrees or agrees with the policy of dropping the senior players and trying to build a cohesive unit of younger aspirants, the fact is that such a move needs time to work.
But in the acrimonious environment that now exists, the good intent of the policy is being ignored, while the actions needed to implement it – the axing of the senior players – is the focus and it is being viewed by some as vindictive rather than developmental.
What gives the latter point credibility is the fact that the verbal bust-up is occurring with a veteran player who for many years was the glue in the team, but generally shied away from the limelight and never courted controversy.
Indeed, throughout his distinguished 17-year career, Chanderpaul’s bat did much of the talking for him. His 9 063 runs in 129 tests with a healthy average of 48.98 is proof of this. He also has a good 41.60 average with 8 778 runs from his 268 One-Day International appearances.
Given these factors and the responses that he has given to WICB chief executive Ernest Hilaire, whose initial comments started the row, it is clear Chanderpaul feels very hurt and thinks he has not been given a fair break.
Although he called no names, the Guyanese left-hander’s statements about receiving messages while at the crease on how he should bat, and having to attend meetings for hours, reveal the frustration he is feeling playing under present coach Ottis Gibson.
His assertion, too, that the board asked him to retire at the conclusion of the World Cup and was dropped from the team when he refused to comply only adds fuel to this fiery debate. Most likely, Hilaire will respond to this accusation as well.
This verbal tussle has got to stop. It is disruptive and counterproductive.
Our concern is the future of West Indies cricket and the need to build an effective team with young, enthusiastic and committed players.
We therefore call on both Hilaire and Chanderpaul to desist bowling their vociferous yorkers as this only serves to undermine the prestige of the game within the region and, from an international perspective, makes those involved with West Indies cricket look like a bungling bunch of jokers.
Chanderpaul, nicknamed Tiger, has demonstrated he can put aside his mild-mannered nature and roar in his own defence. That is his right. What Hilaire needs to do is to follow through on his assertion that Chanderpaul “has been and remains a valued member of the West Indies first team squad”.
At the end of the day, the fans are primarily interested in winning. Administrators and players come and go, but the glory of the team’s exploits is what ultimately matters.
Therefore we urge both parties, in the interest of the game, to work out their differences quietly, so that the team that takes to the field on May 12 for the first Test against Pakistan can focus solely on winning.