Standing firm – the tropical hero

Posted on April 28, 2012

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A clinical player, with a rather insipid style, blocking bowlers across the world and amassing 10, 000 runs in test cricket, Shivnarine Chanderpaul is not the cricketer any coach would advise his ward to learn from.

Lest we forget, this dour warrior, not remembered for aggression, has finished an ODI when the asking rate was 10 runs with just two deliveries to spare.

If Chanderpaul, by any mischance, had been an Englishman, it would have been a miracle to have seen him be a cricketer, leave alone notch up those 10, 000 runs. Ironically, no Englishman has touched that peak.

The batting powerhouse of the West Indian team, Chanderpaul has flayed technique and copybook to carve his own niche in modern-day cricket.

Chanderpaul’s might had been shadowed by Brian Lara since his debut in 1994 and later Chris Gayle. But the turgid southpaw still compiles runs at a healthy average, witnessing emerging bowling attacks while that of his team has been declining.

Ten games away from the 150 test mark, there could probably be no one from the West Indian islands who will be as durable in the future to breach this mark.

Shivnarine Chanderpaul acknowledges the applause after scoring his 10,000th Test run, West Indies v Australia, 3rd Test, Roseau, 4th day, April 26, 2012. Courtesy: EMMANUEL DUNAND/ AFP/ Getty Images

While Darren Bravo, who was with Chanderpaul at the crease when he reached the mark, said that learning from him is priority, it is vital that the young-West Indian batting line-up which includes Kirk Edwards,  Kieran Powell, Kraig Brathwaite and Adrian Barath, take the best of the Guyanese’s experience to guide them at this juncture.

Chanderpaul belongs to a rare breed, the striving soldier who will never put his foot down against any adversary. The breed, which could pass of as the league of extraordinary cricketers, had nothing special in them but determination. It would be no mistake to put him on the pedestal which has the likes of Rahul Dravid perched on it.

His spoils in ODI cricket, which include a career best 150 (against South Africa in East London, 1999), are not rich when compared to his run in test cricket. But, 8778 runs with 59 half centuries and 11 centuries is the sign of someone who has lasted more than a while.

Entering international cricket when the Windies were still the team to beat, Chanderpaul saw how the team transited to be pushovers. But still, they did hold their own in many occasions which includes test-cricket’s highest run chase, winning the 2004 Champion’s Trophy and coming second in the 2006 edition.

The 2004 Champion’s Trophy saw his contribution’s in the middle order. But, the 2006 edition was a peach, opening with Chris Gayle: forming a good cop-bad cop partnership.

Chanderpaul has also had a share of the IPL pie, playing for the Royal Challengers Bangalore. A team dubbed as perfect for test cricket in first season. That was the last of him there, going back to what he does best – plonking the ball back to the bowler with a stance which has never been deciphered or, thankfully, not imitated.

Irrespective of him eclipsing Lara’s record, he is one player who could be forgotten down the years for he will leave no impression in the mind of the purist or the fan who feeds on exhilarating cameos. But for lovers of tropical-cricket he will stand out to be the one who made watching test cricket gratifying.

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Posted in: Cricket, Sports