Dear Sports Editor
The West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) is to honour superstar batsman Shivnarine Chanderpaul in recognition for being named as ICC Player of the year.
He is the first West Indian to be so honoured and the Board has arranged a special recognition ceremony at the start of the English tour to the West Indies early next year. Chanderpaul scored 247 in 3 Tests in South Africa, 130 in 2 Tests against Sri Lanka and 442 in the Digicel series against Australia averaging 147.33 in the tournament.
He also reached the 8000 test runs mark to become the fourth West Indies batsman to do so after Brian Lara, Sir Vivian Richards, and Sir Garfield Sobers.
Incidentally he is the only Guyanese to reach the 8000 mark.
During the past year he scored 819 runs in 8 Test innings including three centuries and six half centuries against the top teams in the world, at an average of 91.00.
He was given a national honour by the Guyana Government a few months ago, but in my view the Arrow Achievement of Award (AA) which was bestowed upon him is a” mediocre” award — the second to last in the country’s list of awards – the lowest being the Medal of Service (MS).
AA awards are given to coaches and persons who have contributed to some extent to the country. The highest award is the Order of Excellence (OE) which is limited to only 25 persons like Presidents, and top level personnel.
The next ranking is Order of Roraima (OR) followed by the Cacique Crown of Honour (CCH), the AA is a stage lower than the CCH.
Clive Lloyd is the only sportsman to receive the OR. The other recipients were mainly Head of Judiciaries, top diplomats, senior politicians and the like.
Shiv played 112 Test matches and scored 800l runs including 19 centuries and 49 half centuries. He scored 7,573 runs in 235 One Day Internationals including eight centuries and 52 half centuries.
He scored a triple century for Guyana against Jamaica and despite he is a painstaking batsman, he blasted a century in 67 balls at Bourda in Georgetown which is the fourth fastest century in Test cricket. He is the second person to score a double century as captain. He led the West Indies in 14 Tests and 16 ODIs.
Surely the Guyana National Honours Committee could have done much better than awarding a AA. They can still go higher because recipients of AAs later received CCH like the late Donald Robinson SC, Senior Counsel Rex Mc Kay, the late J.T. Clarke SC, politician Winston Murray and Barton Scotland are also recipients of the CCH and I am at a loss why Chanderpaul was offered such a “low rated” award.
Trinidad and Tobago gave their four athletes, who brought them silver (not gold) at the recently concluded Beijing Olympic games, the country’s second highest award plus big bucks… between $750,000 and $1 million. Why Guyana chose to give our cricketing hero – the second lowest national award?