Chanderpaul a beacon in gloomy year

by EZRA STUART | January 5, 2009

SHIVNARINE CHANDERPAUL stood out like a beacon in another woeful year for West Indies cricket.

Voted Cricketer Of The Year by the International Cricket Council (ICC) and elevated to the No. 1 spot in the Test batting rankings, Chanderpaul carved out three hundreds in nine Tests while scoring 909 runs at a whopping average of 101.00.

Batting at No. 5, he ran out of partners on seven occasions out of 16 innings, a clear indication that the “Tiger” should claw his way up the order.

The Windies had a solitary victory in nine Tests, while losing twice to both South Africa and Australia and once to Sri Lanka.

Chris Gayle was limited to just six Tests because of a groin strain and finger injury but ended the year with a magnificent 197 versus New Zealand to average 53.50 after amassing 535 runs in 11 innings.

The only other noteworthy batting performance came from Ramnaresh Sarwan, with centuries off both Sri Lanka and Australia, as he scored 606 runs (ave: 46.61) in seven Tests.

But why was Xavier Marshall, who made an encouraging start against Australia with two half-centuries, opening the batting, dropped down the order? The selectors must get it right in 2009.

For those sports fans looking outside of swimmer Bradley Ally and hurdler Ryan Brathwaite, who excelled against world-class opposition, for the Barbadian Sports Personality Of The Year, Fidel Edwards would be a good choice.

He was the West Indies’ best bowler during the year with 31 wickets (average: 29.35) in eight Tests while reaching the 100-mark and logging career-best figures of seven for 87 for good measure.

It is noteworthy that only South African Dale Steyn (a wicket every 35 balls) and Sri Lankan mystery spinner Ajantha Mendis (37 balls) have a better strike-rate than Edwards, who, along with England’s Ryan Sidebottom, claimed a wicket every 45 balls.

Edwards’ best bowling came against Australian when he took 15 wickets in three Tests at 25.13 apiece.

Whereas Jerome Taylor generally gave Edwards support, with 27 wickets at 32.92 apiece in eight Tests (strike rate 57.2), the third fast bowler in the attack, Daren Powell, endured another pathetic year. He managed 19 wickets in nine Tests at an average of 58.10. His strike rate was a wicket every 98.8 balls or one every 16 overs.

Source: Nation News

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