Shivnarine Chanderpaul is a highly unlikely looking cricketer. A professor of music would be more fitting.
But the 37-year-old has stamped himself as one of the most durable of international batsmen in the history of the game, with powers of concentration second to none.
Three milestones in his extraordinary career stand out.
Chanderpaul has been a model of consistency from the start, scoring 13 half-centuries and five 40s in his first 18 Tests, before posting his first Test ton in his 19th Test against India at Bridgetown with an unbeaten 137.
Among those who have scored over 2000 Test runs, Chanderpaul has the best average of all-time with 67.05 batting at six, ahead of Gary Sobers’ 53.34, Allan Border’s 52.16, and Steve Waugh’s 51.04.
And his 104 in the world record fourth dig run-chase of 7-418 against Australia at St Johns in 2003 was vital in supporting Ramnaresh Sarwon’s 105, Brian Lara’s 60, and Omari Banks’ 47.
His unbeaten 103 in the current Test being played in Bridgetown has the Australians on the back foot. The ton wasn’t pretty to watch, but then there’s nothing about Chanderpaul that is pretty to watch.
He is an accumulator. There’s nothing normal about him from the light reflector black patches under both eyes to his wide open stance to confining his shot-making to playing off the back foot and square of the wicket.
Restrictive, but extremely effective providing he has the patience. And that he has in unlimited quantities.
The 103 was the perfect example, taking 248 deliveries. He bored the Australian attack to distraction during his six-and-a-half hours at the crease.
And in the process shut the Australians out of the picture. Only the West Indies can win from here.
That’s why Chanderpaul is so vital to the Windies. Right now they are ranked a lowly seventh in the world, with only New Zealand and Bangladesh below them. The Australians are ranked fourth, behind England, South Africa, and India.
If the inspirational Chanderpaul remains fit, the Windies won’t be ranked seventh for long.
Of the current international cricketers, only Sachin Tendulkar has been around longer than Chanderpaul. Tendulkar started in 1989, Chanderpaul in 1994.
And Chanderpaul’s standing is best shown in those behind him among the Test century-makers of all-time.
Tendulkar is the benchmark with 51 Test tons, from Jacques Kallis (42), and Ricky Ponting’s 41.
Chanderpaul now has 25 Test centuries ahead of an impressive list that includes Greg Chappell, Graeme Smith, Mohammad Yousuf, and Viv Richards on 24, Justin Langer’s 23, Wally Hammond, Colin Cowdrey, and Geoff Boycott on 22, Neil Harvey’s 21, Mark Waugh’s 20 and Len Hutton, Clive Lloyd, Gordon Greenidge, Mark Taylor, and Michael Clarke with 19.
To further emphasise Chanderpaul’s standing, he’s ranked the eighth Test batsman in the world with Darren Bravo (21), and Kirk Edwards 44.
The Australians have five in the top 50 – Clarke (equal first), Ponting (16), Mike Hussey (18), Shane Watson (27), and David Warner at 37.
Yet because of Chanderpaul alone, the Australians are under the pump at Bridgetown.
Shivnarine Chanderpaul is a Lone Ranger, but a mighty batsman who would be among the first chosen in any of the other eight national sides.