December 4, 2008
Shivnarine Chanderpaul has said he will look at not only achieving personal goals on the tour of New Zealand but will also be keen to play a major role in West Indies’ success as a team.
“I want to improve all the time,” he said. “I try harder, I work harder and I try to eliminate any mistakes. I just try to get better. The aim is to improve my skills. You never know what will happen on the cricket field, but you know once you prepare properly you give yourself every chance to play well.”
Chanderpaul, the ICC’s Cricketer of the Year in 2008, currently heads its Test batting rankings. He is also currently No. 4 in the ODI player rankings and was the third-highest run-scorer for West Indies in their previous ODI series – a 0-3 whitewash against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi last month – with 146 runs in the three matches at 73.00.
He was also the highest run-getter in West Indies’ previous Tests series, at home against Australia in May-June this year. He scored 442 runs at 147.33 but, as has often been the case, could not prevent West Indies from winning the three-match encounter 2-0.
West Indies arrive in New Zealand ranked No. 8 in the ICC ODI standings and just ahead of New Zealand at No. 7 in the Test rankings – something Chanderpaul indicated they would look to improve on in the upcoming series. “I have been playing for so long and I want to win. As much as I do well personally, I want to win as a team as well. That would be good for everyone. We have an opportunity here to start winning some games and make some steps up the rankings,” he said.
The West Indies Test squad has a number of first-timers – Lionel Baker, Leon Johnson, Kemar Roach, Brendan Nash – along with four players who have played less than six matches.
“We have a young team, guys who have not experienced these kinds of conditions before. It comes back to how well we can get acclimatized to the conditions out here and get accustomed to the pitches. It is obvious they all have talent – in the Caribbean we are full of talent – but it is how well we can perform in each department.” Chanderpaul said.
“It depends on how well we play and I know we can play well. I know we are capable. Once we perform in all departments it would make for a very good Christmas.”
The thought was not lost on coach John Dyson, who backed the experienced players in the team to lead from the front. “I’m confident that our senior players will continue to do well and also that the inexperienced players have had good preparation and stand in good stead to do well…it’s a matter of doing it in the middle,” he told RadioJamaica.com. “We came to New Zealand early to get rid of the jet lag problem, which we’ve done and we’ve had excellent practice facilities particularly in the last couple of days in Auckland and Christchurch.”
In addition to the lone warm-up game against Auckland, West Indies will play two Tests, two Twenty20 internationals and five ODIs on their tour from December 5 to January 13.