Shivnarine Chanderpaul © Getty Images
Shivnarine Chanderpaul is West Indies’ leading run-scorer in Tests © Getty Images

West Indian veteran Shivnarine Chanderpaul has refused to retire following his axing from West Indies’ squad for the upcoming Test series against Australia. In a WhatsApp conversation with new West Indian coach Phil Simmons, Chanderpaul said that he would appreciate a chance to retire after the series, but if he was dropped than he would want to make his way back to the side.

According to a report in kaieteurnewsonline, Chanderpaul told Simmons: “The above statement was given by you in your interview. Now that it is left to me to make that decision. I would make myself available for the upcoming Australia series. At the conclusion of the series, it would give me an opportunity to thank the WI public and the board for all the opportunities. It may also be an occasion for the WICB to recognize me for my long and dedicated service. It would be a good send off after dedicating 21 years of my life to WI cricket.”

In response, Simmons said that he wanted Chanderpaul to play the final Test against England, but nothing beyond that. “We had selection before each test and I did back you for the Barbados test when it was close between the selectors but it is no longer close for the Australia series. I understand how you feel but it is in the hands of the selectors not yourself to decide on a squad for the series so what I was saying to you is that you retiring would make more sense than you being left out of the squad for the series. You can still thank the WICB and the public for the opportunities in your statement and the WICB will recognise you for your long and dedicated service to cricket,” said Simmons to Chanderpaul.

Chanderpaul was adamant that he deserved the chance to retire on his own terms. “My request to finish up with the Australian series is not asking too much. It gives me a chance to acknowledge my supporters at home, and the possibility of the WICB properly honoring me for my contribution to WI cricket. I should not be pushed into retirement. Here is a situation where I firmly believe public opinion would be in favour of me being given the opportunity to play in my final test series at home. Thanks,” Chanderpaul said.

Simmons responded by telling him that there was no question over his achievements. “There is no dispute that you have dedicated the last 21 years of your life to WI cricket and as stated before this will be acknowledged and recognised by the WICB, but unfortunately length of service is not a criterion for selection. If public opinion was a criteria for selection then we can agree maybe you would play until you are fifty unfortunately it is not. I am not pushing you into retirement I am as previously said, trying to dignify the situation because Chanderpaul retiring would be more dignified than Chanderpaul being left out by the selectors.”

Chanderpaul concluded by saying that if he was to be dropped, he would not retire and instead work his way back to the side. “Since you and the selectors said it is up to me to decide. I have decided to make myself available for the Australian series. I AM NOT RETIRING. Thanks.”