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Why Shivnarine sends shivers up Australia’s spine

David Lord Columnist

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    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.

    David Lord
    David Lord

    David Lord was deeply involved in two of the biggest sporting stories - World Series Cricket in 1977 and professional rugby in 1983. After managing Jeff Thomson and Viv Richards during WSC, in 1983 David signed 208 of the best rugby players from Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and France to play an international pro circuit. The concept didn?t get off the ground, but it did force the IRB to get cracking and bring in the World Rugby Cup, now one of the world?s great sporting spectacles

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    The Crowd Says (13)

    • April 10th 2012 @ 10:59am
      Rhys said | April 10th 2012 @ 10:59am | ! Report

      Thanks for writing that excellent article David. I’ve always rated Chanderpaul very highly. He may be a technicians nightmare at the crease, but he has forged an almighty career out of his unconventional style.

      I recall on the Australian’s last tour to the West Indies (2008 I think) when Brett Lee struck Chanderpaul a viscious blow in the helmet with a bouncer. Chanderpaul not only recovered from the knock, but from memory he went on to score an unbeaten century then too. During that same series Chanderpaul scored 2 centuries and 3 50s from his 6 stints at the crease.

      I think there was a period around 07/08 that he was also the #1 ranked batsman in the world, and at one point had batted over 1000 minutes in Tests without being dismissed.

      Along with the recently retired Rahul Dravid, Shiv Chanderpaul is one of a seemingly endangered species of dogged, determined, patient Test batsman. There aren’t too many more of that style that I can think of that are still playing – maybe the likes of Alastair Cook, Jacques Kallis, Mahela Jayawardene, Michael Hussey – but all of those batsman have the luxury of being surrounded by experienced and prolific batsman. Since Lara retired (and with Gayle being absent), Chanderpaul is, as you rightly point out, a ‘Lone Ranger’.

      Unless the Australians can employ an effective strategy to breach his defenses, Chanderpaul will likely become the 10th batsman in Test history to pass 10,000 runs, before the end of the series. A mighty achievement from a quiet achiever.

    • April 10th 2012 @ 11:21am
      Matt F said | April 10th 2012 @ 11:21am | ! Report

      I agree with you here David. Chanderpaul has been an excellent player throughout his career and one who has never rwally received the plaudits that he deserves.

      It’s also nice to see the WIndies playing some good cricket, though I was hoping that they wouldn’t produce it against us! There have been a few signs over the past 12-24 months that they are indeed on the rise again. Not to number one in the world but they no longer appear to be easy beats like they were for so long. They’ve got a few good young players coming through and Chanderpaul is as good as ever.

    • April 10th 2012 @ 4:21pm
      Jason said | April 10th 2012 @ 4:21pm | ! Report

      I don’t know about Chanderpaul. While his powers of concentration are immense (I think he is number 1 and 2 on the list of “most balls faced in tests between dismissals”) I am not sure if I have ever seen a batsman since Boycott who has so batted for himself first and the team second.

      While his personal record against Australia at home is fantastic, overall he has only played in 3 winning tests against Aust in 16 years – one being the WR chase and the other two back in 1996 when Ambrose was running riot.

      • April 10th 2012 @ 5:36pm
        Rhys said | April 10th 2012 @ 5:36pm | ! Report

        Jason, on the point you make about Chanderpaul only playing in 3 winning Tests against Australia in 16 years. I think that’s got a lot more to do with the fact that Australia has been a dominant force in Test cricket for most of that 16 years, and the West Indies’ team has been nigh on a basket case for most of the corresponding time.

        I reckon there’s still a place in Test cricket for a batsman who is prepared to dig in and frustrate the hell out of the opposition bowlers.

    • April 10th 2012 @ 8:55pm
      Carey said | April 10th 2012 @ 8:55pm | ! Report

      Jason I think you’ll find that chanderpaul Has the 4th fastest test hundred. He can play both games So that’s hardly a player who plays for himself

      • April 11th 2012 @ 12:13am
        Jason said | April 11th 2012 @ 12:13am | ! Report

        But that’s the point. He can score quickly but doesn’t even when the situation demands it because he doesn’t want to risk getting out.

        • April 11th 2012 @ 8:19am
          Disco said | April 11th 2012 @ 8:19am | ! Report

          So does that make, say, Brad Haddin unselfish? He’s certainly proved far less reluctant to get out.

          • April 11th 2012 @ 8:44am
            Jason said | April 11th 2012 @ 8:44am | ! Report

            Brad Haddin is reckless and irresponsible but yes, he is unselfish in tat he is prepared to sacrifice his wicket if the team situation demands it.

            • April 19th 2012 @ 8:13pm
              ak said | April 19th 2012 @ 8:13pm | ! Report

              Chanderpaul surely is a class player. If your team is in trouble you can bank on Shiv to produce quality batting. He has batted for 1000 minutes without getting out and is one of only six players to have done that and the only one to do it four times. He has the fourth fastest ton in tests against the likes of Mcgrath and Lee. This shows that he can bat in any gear. He is accused of being selfish because he bats slow. But if he were to bat and try scoring quick runs he would be accused of being irresponsible. In that case we may even call Ponting to be selfish since he is still not retiring inspite of being out of form for 2 years. The recent series against India helped him get runs bcoz of some substandard bowling. In fact we can put arguments in case of any player and call him selfish. We may call Lara as selfish coz he didn’t declare till he got 400. We may call Sachin selfish coz he is still not retiring even from one-dayers. We may call Kallis selfish for he too bats in the same dogged way as Shiv. Are these guys selfish? I certainly don’t think so. These guys are rich. at their age they can retire and live a comfortable life. They can be in the commentary box and still earn nice money. But they are sweating it out in the sun. So think twice before calling them selfish

            • April 19th 2012 @ 8:35pm
              pd said | April 19th 2012 @ 8:35pm | ! Report

              Chanderpaul is not selfish. He is a great player. He alongwith Kallis and Dravid are toughest guys of his generation. When your team needs to slog it out these three are better than Lara, Ponting, Tendulkar etc

    • April 10th 2012 @ 8:59pm
      Swampy said | April 10th 2012 @ 8:59pm | ! Report

      Is it right that Australia hasn’t dismissed Chanderpaul in a test in the windies in about 7 years now?

      Pity he has been oft injured and had no one decent to bat with since Lara retired.

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    • April 11th 2012 @ 1:08am
      Brendon said | April 11th 2012 @ 1:08am | ! Report

      While the West Indies are the only team that can win from here (currently Australia 8/301) the test will most likely end in a draw.

      While Chanderpaul is an underrated batsmen his scoring rate leaves a lot to be desired. Since the West Indies only scored at 2.93 runs per over they sucked up 153 overs in their first innings. Australia have used 111 overs. We’re into the fourth day’s play and the 1st innings is still going. 3 and a bit days play for 17 wickets.

      Chanderpaul only has a S/R of 41.53 which is incredibly low.

      People complain about how batting dominant test cricket is but even with batsmen scoring more runs more tests are finishing in a result due to batsmen’s much higher scoring rates.

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