After more than two decades and 164 Test matches, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, one of West Indies' finest batsmen, has retired. Chanderpaul finishes as the second-highest West Indian Test run-maker, 86 runs short of Brian Lara: Lara got 11,953 (11,912 for West Indies and the rest for the ICC World XI), while Chanderpaul scored 11,867 (all for West Indies).
Chanderpaul, 41, had not played for West Indies since May 2015; the West Indies selectors dropped him after a weak performance during the three-Test series at home against England. While Chanderpaul entertained hopes of a comeback, the selection panel, headed by former West Indies captain Clive Lloyd, had provided enough hints that they had moved past Chanderpaul as they ignored him for the various series in the last eight months. Chanderpaul was also not part of the 15 players handed annual contracts by the WICB in December.
Last June Chanderpaul had said he would decide by the end of the year when he would exit the international scene. "Definitely, but I am on the outside, just waiting to see what is happening," Chanderpaul told cricket365.com, when asked if he wanted to play Tests again. "Retirement isn't on the cards at the moment. Not for now, probably the ending of the year maybe then."
That his desire to play on continued to be strong was evident from the fact that he remained part of the regional domestic tournaments and, in fact, played his last match just three days ago, in the semi-final of the Nagico Super50 one-day tournament for Guyana.
The WICB said in a release that Chanderpaul formally notified the board "in an email that he will no longer be available for selection for West Indies". "The WICB acknowledges the invaluable contribution Shiv has made to the game globally, and we wish him all the best," WICB president Dave Cameron said.
One big reason for Chanderpaul to re-think his international career could be his involvement with the Masters Champions League (MCL), a tournament for players who have left all professional forms of the game including domestic cricket, which begins on January 28 in Dubai. To participate in the MCL, players have to get no-objection certificates from their respective boards stating that they have retired from all forms of cricket. Incidentally, till Thursday the WICB had not been approached for an NOC by any player. Chanderpaul was signed for $30,000 to represent Gemini Arabians in the tournament.
Chanderpaul is only the second modern-day player, after Sachin Tendulkar, whose career stretched over two decades. He might not have been as celebrated and revered as Tendulkar, but Chanderpaul had worked hard, quietly, to become one of the strongest pillars of West Indies cricket.
He scored 30 Test centuries and averaged 51.37 in the format, and held numerous records that are likely to last for a long time, including batting for more than 25 hours in a Test series between dismissals - he did it against India in 2002, when he faced 1050 consecutive deliveries without losing his wicket.
Unorthodox stance and great determination aside, Chanderpaul never allowed his emotions to overpower him or pour over on the outside. Perhaps that reserved nature of his explained why he led West Indies only 14 times in Tests. He also played 268 ODIs for 8778 runs at 41.60 (the last of which was during the 2011 World Cup), and 22 T20Is.
Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo