Chanderpaul – Getting better with age

– Like a consummate professional, Shivnarine Chanderpaul has gone about the business of scoring runs in 2012 with little fuss or fanfare
By Avenash Ramzan
“A day’s play is six hours, and you should plan on batting six hours. I have this philosophy of batting today, and come back and bat tomorrow, as was drilled into me by former [West Indies] coach Rohan Kanhai.”
The two-Test series between West Indies and Bangladesh is over, and the hosts need no further evidence that Shivnarine Chanderpaul has listened and learnt from a man who had dominated an era where helmets and arm guards were non-existent.
A staggering 354 runs from three innings, including a career-best 203 not out in the first Test in Dhaka and a brilliant unbeaten 150 in the second and final match at Test cricket’s newest venue in Khulna, all but summed up Chanderpaul’s dominance over the opposition bowling attack.
The knock in Dhaka drew him level with the great Sir Garfield Sobers with 26 centuries, and in the very next Test, he surged ahead with century number 27, second only to Brian Lara’s West Indian record of 34.
Marlon Samuels’ heroic 260 in the final Test significantly boasted his runs tally in the series, but he was still short of Chanderpaul’s total by a hefty 77 runs. It came as no surprise the veteran left-hander was voted Man-of-the-Series.
All told, the former West Indies captain spent 841 minutes or 14 hours, 01 minute and faced 658 deliveries or 109.4 overs while batting in Bangladesh. There is nothing to suggest that Kanhai would not be a proud man.
Like a consummate professional, Shivnarine Chanderpaul has gone about the business of scoring runs in 2012 with little fuss or fanfare. For a number of reasons, the past 12 months have been rewarding for the ‘Tiger.’
He started with century number 25, grinding his way to an unbeaten 103 in the opening Test against Australia at the Kensington Oval in Barbados. Though he made just 12 in the second innings, the middle-order batsman stroked 94 in his lone knock in the second Test at the Queen’s Park Oval in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, and proceeded to score 68 and 69 in the third and final match in Roseau, Dominica.
During the course of the second innings in Dominica, Chanderpaul became the first Guyanese, second West Indian behind Lara and 10th international cricketer to pass 10,000 Test runs.
West Indies lost the three-Test series 2-0, but Chanderpaul’s 346 runs at an average of 86.50 was enough to gain the adjudicator’s nod for the Man-of-the-Series.
A month later, the West Indies were in the United Kingdom to take on England in a two-Test series, and though the 38-year-old batsman missed out on a century, he made solid contributions to the team’s cause.
In the opening Test at Lord’s, the headquarters of cricket, Chanderpaul was left stranded on 87 in the first innings, and though he fared better in the second innings with 91, a second Test hundred at the Mecca of cricket eluded him.
At Nottingham where the second Test was hosted, a lean period commenced with scores of 46 and 11, followed by returns of zero, nine and 43 not out in the two-Test home series against New Zealand.
A total of 109 runs in three Tests at an ordinary average of 27.25 was, by Chanderpaul’s standard, a cause for worry.
However, his indomitable style, passion for success, determination to conquer and the advice of Kanhai ever present in his mind, Chanderpaul rebounded in emphatic fashion against Bangladesh, answering those who may have started harbouring thoughts of his career coming to an end.
In nine Tests in 2012, the soft-spoken ICC Cricketer-of-the-Year 2008, notched up 987 runs, which, at the time of writing, was third behind Australia’s Michael Clarke (1,309 from nine Tests) and England’s Alistair Cook (1,044 from 13 Tests).
He has ended the year as the West Indies leading runscorer in Test cricket, followed by Samuels with 866 runs from seven matches and opener Kieron Powell in third position with 587 runs from nine games.
With former Australian captain Ricky Ponting retiring after the current third Test against South Africa in Perth, Chanderpaul will remain in a small, but elite club of contemporary batting giants, who have played over 140 Tests.
With a West Indies record of 146 Test matches, Chanderpaul is third on the list of active players, with India’s Sachin Tendulkar (192) leading the way and South Africa’s Jacques Kallis (158) in second position. Ponting will end with 168, a joint Australian record with former captain, Steve Waugh.
On the overall list of most matches, Chanderpaul lies eighth, behind Tendulkar (192), Waugh (168), Ponting (168), India’s Rahul Dravid (164), Kallis (158), Australia’s Allan Border (156) and South Africa’s Mark Boucher (156).
In terms of runs, Chanderpaul is also number eight on the all-time list, although he and Border have the lowest number of centuries with 27 each.
Not surprisingly, Tendulkar heads the group with 15,562 runs, inclusive of a record 51 centuries, followed by Ponting (13,366 runs/41 centuries); Dravid (13,288 runs/36 centuries); Kallis (12, 943 runs/44 centuries); Lara (11,953 runs/34 centuries); Border (11,174 runs/27 centuries); Waugh (10,927 runs/32 centuries); Chanderpaul (10,696 runs/27 centuries); Sri Lanka’s Mahela Jayawardene (10,640 runs/31 centuries); and India’s Sunil Gavaskar (10, 122 runs/34 centuries).

At the writing, Chanderpaul has moved to number two in the world rankings for Test batsman with 879 points, 11 less than the in-form Clarke, and 24 more than third placed Kallis.

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