Bidding goodbye can be tough, even more if it is to what one loves the most. One hates to not love what one does like to do the most, yet sometimes one needs to introspect that love. Introspection mostly starts from inside but when the same is heard from outside it hurts, it angers. To be told to hang up is the most loathly thing a sports person wants to hear. But there is more to it.
“It has to do with respect and Chanderpaul has earned the right to say goodbye in an acceptable way. In fact, he should be allowed to do it in his own way “says the legendary Brian Lara. But to Lloyd and Simmons the development of Caribbean cricket was more important. Can you fault their decision at the cost of an emotional farewell to one of the most loyal son of Caribbean cricket? “They (BCCI) organized a Test series in his (Sachin) honor and gave him a farewell in keeping with his contribution to the game” fumes Lara. But West Indies is no India and Australia is no West Indies.
As Chanderpaul inside edged a harmless delivery from Anderson at Barbados, one which he would have left alone with his eyes closed when in form, many feared the end was nearing. But as with many the man himself didn’t. He felt he still had it in him to grind himself out of trouble one more time like he had always done numerous times before. He felt he could assemble many little chunks of pieces that made the machine not stop running only until a year ago. But Lloyd and Simmons thought otherwise.
When requested, Chanderpaul refused. Problem didn’t only lie in the fact that he had to retire but that he expected he would be given one farewell series to thank the game he loved the most. Chanderpaul would be the last man you would think doesn’t deserve one last farewell. We all would love to see him one last time slowly move from his square leg positioned guard to the more accustomed position as to how a batsman would be positioned to face a bowler, and then surrender his arms as if he is least interested with the proceedings. It would have been a sight to behold the little man bid adieu to the game which he has been most loyal to.
But cricket isn’t Tennis where the individual can afford to decide his farewell game, it isn’t Football where in a senior player’s experience be benched and then be asked to come in for the last 15 odd minutes, or it isn’t hockey where he can be subbed as and when required. Once in, Chanderpaul musty start from zero and contribute to the team’s needs. It would be rather sad if a team like West Indies is carrying a player like Chanderpaul. The little man from Guyana might be the larger than the team itself in stature and loyalty, but yet, it is the team, that he plays for and not for himself. He mustn’t forget.
Had Lloyd and Simmons given Chanderpaul one series to bid adieu as agreed, they would have been lauded for the tribute offered. But now that they haven’t, also need to be lauded for the bold decision taken, well aware of the cynicism that would follow at the cost of emotional outburst over the Caribbean’s most loved son.
The West Indies cricket has been in resurgence for more years than since the youth of today had started watching cricket. There is little doubt that Chanderpaul’s shoulders have broadened in bearing it’s responsibility over the course of time. Shiv has meditated in white clothes all alone for many years even as some beside him didn’t bothered to respect the game that brought them the glory while others hunted for glory too early that they themselves became the prey, which they never realized. He cared for every ball that came his way as how a mother would care for her son’s days. Shiv had stood alone. But even he has to wane and now is it. Shiv won’t be remembered for the last ball he faced but for the thousands of balls he chose not to play.
Fairy tales and farewells form a great tryst. Not all are lucky to have it, but not that they don’t deserve it. Is farewell earned? Yes. Has Shiv earned it? Yes. But fairy tale isn’t earned. It is carved not going by if one deserves or not. It is just carved, sometimes of flowers and sometimes of iron. Hence no need to blame any.