DUBAI, UAE (CMC):Batting legend Brian Lara believes recently retired West Indies batsman Shiv Chanderpaul should have been afforded the time to make a graceful exit from the game.Hailing Chanderpaul as one of the “giants of West Indies cricket”, Lara said he was disappointed the 41-year-old had been axed from the Test team without having the opportunity to have a “proper send-off”.”Shiv, who played since 1994, had a tremendous career. I started with Shiv in Guyana, and remember his first Test match against England,” Lara said here Monday.”That guy with the most Test matches for the West Indies, playing for over 20 years. I don’t think people in the West Indies understand exactly his contribution.”I was very disappointed that Shiv was not allowed a couple of more Test matches, not necessarily to break the record, but to have a proper send-off – something I think he is very disappointed (about); and, unfortunately, that did not happen.”Chanderpaul’s form came under the microscope after he managed just 91 runs in three Tests against South Africa last year January and 92 runs in a similar three-Test series against England in April.In announcing the left-hander’s sacking ahead of Australia’s tour of the Caribbean last May, chief selector Clive Lloyd said Chanderpaul’s decline in form had been “rapid”, and selectors had opted to focus on younger players.Overall, Chanderpaul pummelled 11,867 runs from 164 Tests at an average of 51, with 30 centuries.Lara said he was a big admirer of Chanderpaul throughout his career.”He has been a great servant for West Indies cricket, and he has done some tremendous things throughout his career, and credit must be given to the man for how he has played,” said Lara, who is here to play in the Masters Champions League.See related story on B3.
POKER STAR confirmed his status as the country’s top sprinter at Caymanas Park yesterday with an emphatic victory in the annual renewal of the Eileen Cliggott Memorial Trophy over 1300 metres, the season’s first grade one trophy race.Installed a 4-5 favourite with four-time champion Omar Walker riding him for the first time, the classy 4-y-o colt from the stables of 15-champion trainer Wayne DaCosta won by 1 3/4 lengths from PHINEAS (7-2) under former champion Wesley Henry with old rival CAMPESINO (Paul Francis up) in third.Breaking smartly from the number-one post position, POKER STAR led briefly before giving way to the highly fancied American-bred UPPA TUNE (2-1) under champion jockey Shane Ellis. He came back strongly to dispose of topweight UPPA TUNE and, on entering the straight, quickened impressively to win going away.Owned by Alexander Haber and bred by Y.S. (1955) Limited, POKER STAR a 4-y-o bay gelding by Liquidity out of Buyabook, was notching his fourth consecutive win and his third over this trip since May of last year. In between, he won the November 14 Caribbean Sprint Championship and more recently, the St Catherine Cup open allowance race over 1100 metres on January 2. DaCosta said POKER STAR did what was expected of him … and more.”He was ridden with some degree of patience, having to run from the number one post position, but there was a lot to like about the manner in which he found another gear when PHINEAS came on the scene a furlong out, and so long as he remains healthy, he won’t be beaten for now,” said DaCosta.
West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) president Whycliffe ‘Dave’ Cameron has disclosed that West Indies all-rounder Andre Russell will not be pulled from the West Indies team for the upcoming ICC World T20 World Cup. The Windies are currently preparing for the upcoming tournament to be held in India. Russell, an anticipated key figure in the West Indies push to regain the World Twenty20 crown, recently missed three out-of-competition drug tests over a 12-month period, which under World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) rules equates to a positive finding and carries a suspension of two years for a first offence. The 27-year-old, according to Cameron, is to face an independent panel of the Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission after the March 8 to April 3 tournament. “Mr Russell is not suspended as he will play in the World T20,” Cameron said, following the annual general meeting of the WICB at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel at the weekend. “The matter has been sent to an independent panel for hearing, and that will be done after the tournament.” Cameron, who expressed surprise at Russell’s rule violation given efforts of the board to inform players of WADA requirements, also stated that Russell has the full support of the board. “We have Ayana Cooper (WICB player relations officer), who is on board, on staff and that is exactly one of the reasons she is there for: To support the players directly on those things,” stated Cameron. “We have to now move to try and support him in ensuring whatever sanctions we can mitigate.” The big-hitting Russell guided Islamabad United to the inaugural Pakistan Super League title last month. He was also named man of the tournament. He also helped Sydney Thunder win the Australia Big Bash League, Kolkata Knight Riders the Indian Premier League and Jamaica Tallawahs the Caribbean Premier League. He is also in talks with Nottinghamshire in a bid to represent them in this year’s England T20 Blast tournament. According to WADA rules, athletes must tell their local anti-doping agency, where they will be for at least one hour each day, to accommodate out-of-competition drug tests.