Chanderpaul: Is he the best Guyanese batsman ever?

My congratulations go out to all the other winners tonight – these awards are great for the players and it is an honour even to be nominated. I am thrilled to have won,” the Guyanese had said.

Shivnarine Chanderpaul, World number one but is he Guyana’s number one?
Shivnarine Chanderpaul, World number one but is he Guyana’s number one?

“My congratulations go out to all the other winners tonight – these awards are great for the players and it is an honour even to be nominated. I am thrilled to have won,” the Guyanese had said.

Like good wine, Chanderpaul just seems to be getting better and better with age and certainly he will be ranked in the pantheon of the West Indies cricket Gods’ when his playing days are over.

Currently Chanderpaul occupies the hierarchy of West Indies batting greats sitting only behind Brian Charles Lara, 11 953 runs, Sir Vivian Richards, 8540 runs and Sir Garfield Sobers, 8032 runs with 8001 runs.

Much like his personality, Chanderpaul gives absolutely no hint of what his goals are or what his next achievement might be.
Those achievements, like his number one ICC ranking, simply creep up on you landing with an impact that is designed to leave a long-lasting impression.
Certainly Chanderpaul could well surpass both Sobers and Richards by the time his playing days are over.
Lara’s 11 000 odd test runs however, seem an unattainable goal.

But no one will deny that Chanderpaul, that humble servant of Guyana and West Indies cricket, deserves all the honour that is being bestowed upon him right now and calls for him to be given even more recognition and honour especially by the political party the Alliance For Change (AFC) and by former Trinidad and Tobago Minster of Sports Manohar Ramsarran, should not fall on deaf ears.

His, has been a career characterized by dogged determination against opposing bowlers of all kinds, the ordinary trundler to the mesmerizing spin genius but what makes Chanderpaul’s ach-ievements all the more remarkable is that he has been able to reach the pinnacle of his sport by, for the most part, living, training and playing his cricket in Guyana.
It is a testament to what can be achieved by local cricketers some of whom should request from the world number one, his recipe for success. Chanderpaul’s recent success, being ranked number one in test cricket in batting, being voted Wisden Cricketer of the Year for 2008 and now his being voted the ICC Cricketer of the Year, counters the argument that superior facilities are necessary to produce good cricketers even though one understands that lately, Chanderpaul has procured a bowling machine with which he continues to hone his batting skills.

 Clive `Supercat’ Lloyd holds aloft the 1979 Prudential Trophy after the West Indies had won the second such competition.

While we know where Chanderpaul stands in relation to West Indies batsmanship, one is unsure where to place the left-hander with the crabby technique when it comes to rating batsmen born and bred in Guyana.

It will be interesting to seek out the pundits’ view on whether Chanderpaul has now supplanted Rohan Kanhai and Clive Lloyd as the best batsman this country has ever produced.
Kanhai, of the famous falling down hook shot has widely been regarded as the best batsman from Guyana, at least, in test cricket with Lloyd a close second.

On the other hand Lloyd, who led the West Indies to a historical triumph in the first World Cup tournament in 1975, has the mantle of being the best one-day batsman.
The top five Guyanese to have played test cricket in order of runs scored reads Chanderpaul 8001 runs; Lloyd, 7515 runs; Kanhai, 6227 runs; Carl Hooper 5762 runs and Alvin Kallicharran, 4399 runs.

A comparison among Kanhai, Chanderpaul and Lloyd will see that Kanhai scored his runs from only 79 test matches at an average of 47.53.
He scored 15 test centuries and 28 half centuries and had a highest score of 256 against India at Kolkata, which, incidentally, was his first test century scored after 13 test matches.
Lloyd, named Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 1971, played more test matches than Kanhai. His runs were scored in 110 test matches where he averaged 46.67.
His highest score remains 242 not out made against India and he scored 19 test centuries and 39 half centuries. Chanderpaul to date has played 112 test matches; batted 193 times; averages 49.08 and has scored 19 test centuries and 49 half centuries. He has a highest score of 203 not out against South Africa at Bourda.

 Rohan Kanhai: Was the first to make the World sit up and take notice of batsmen from Guyana.

On test cricket stats alone Chanderpaul would be regarded as the best batsman Guyana has produced but of course there are other factors.For instance, Kanhai scored 1000 runs for English County side Warwickshire on 10 occasions while Chanderpaul is only in his second year with Durham. In 1984 Kanhai scored 1894 runs at an average of 57.39.

Chanderpaul, though, can boast of having on three occasions, stayed over 1000 minutes at the crease without being dismissed while Lloyd, who served  English County side Lancashire with distinction can boast of having held the record for the fastest first class double century 201 in 120 minutes.

There are other stats unique to each of the above named cricketers that space will not permit to state here and one would suppose that unless all the statistical and relevant data are put on the table, there is no easy answer to the perplexing question as to who is the best batsman that this country has ever produced.

But Guyanese can hold their heads high with the knowledge that this country has produced bastmen of the calibre of Kanhai, Lloyd and now Chanderpaul.
And young cricketers seeking to make their mark on the world need to look no further than these icons of Guyana and West Indies cricket.
To do so would be nothing short of blasphemy.

Source: Stabroek News

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