Shivnarine Chanderpaul deserves to go down in history as one of the best ever    Getty Images
Shivnarine Chanderpaul deserves to go down in history as one of the best ever Getty Images

Shivnarine Chanderpaul is not West Indies’ greatest ever batsman. He is not even their greatest ever left-handed batsman. He has none of Garry Sobers’ genius, Viv Richards’ brutality, or Brian Lara’s elegance. There might never be a young cricketer who wants to model his batting on Chanderpaul. Most coaches the world over would have nightmares about his technique. Chances are most cricket fans would not even think of him when they list legends of the game. They will probably not even list him among West Indian legends. And yet, Chanderpaul retires as the seventh-highest run-scorer in Test history. He was 87 runs away from being West Indies’ leading Test run-scorer. READ: and thus retired Shivnarine Chanderpaul

Describing Chanderpaul is easy enough. He is a soft-spoken diminutive accumulator with a technique that is often called “crab-like” because his stance makes it seem like he is about to face the square leg umpire. We will be spared the need to describe him any further because YouTube exists and future generations will not need be kept guessing about him, as is the case with WG Grace or Victor Trumper or Gilbert Jessop. READ: Shivnarine Chanderpaul announces retirement from international cricket

Given the rich cricketing legacy of the West Indies creating an all-time West Indies XI would be be a tough ask. The batting order would be tough to pick, with the likes of Richards, Sobers, Lara, George Headley, Gordon Greenidge, Everton Weekes, Frank Worrell, and Clyde Walcott being serious contenders. But as Abhishek Mukherjee and Arunabha Sengupta explain, there is a very real chance that Chanderpaul would trump most of them and make it to the side based on his mind-numbing record. READ: Shivnarine Chanderpaul receives Icon Award

Speaking of which, mind-numbing is an epithet that could describe Chanderpaul quite well. He most certainly numbed the bowlers. Just ask the Indians, against whom Chanderpaul averaged 63.85 in 25 Tests; or Bangladesh, who Chanderpaul took for an average of 149.50 after as many as 10 Tests. In fact, Chanderpaul never actually struggled against anyone. He averaged 49.96 against Australia, 48.05 against England, 45.62 against New Zealand, 42.86 against Pakistan, 46.21 against South Africa, and 42 against Sri Lanka. Shockingly, the only country against which Chanderpaul averaged less than 40 was Zimbabwe (35.72). READ: Sachin Tendulkar comments on Shivnarine Chanderpaul s international retirement, congratulating him

And that is just in Test cricket. Chanderpaul’s Test record is outstanding, but it often overshadows his ODI record. Among all West Indian batsmen with at least 1,000 runs Chanderpaul with (41.60) is fourth on the list of batsmen with the highest average behind Richards (47), Greenidge (45.03), and Ramnaresh Sarwan (42.67). This means that he averages more than the likes of Lara, Clive Lloyd, Chris Gayle, Desmond Haynes, Carl Hooper, and Richie Richardson; men who are largely looked at as great ODI players.

His strike rate was a lowly 70.74, but he played a large chunk of his ODIs before the T20 era, where a strike rate in the 70s was largely the norm. That is not to say that Chanderpaul could not play the big shots; when West Indies needed 10 to win against Sri Lanka from 2 balls (to be bowled by Chaminda Vaas) in an ODI, he hit a four and a six to win the game. His two highest ODI scores of 150 and 149 not out came at well over a run a ball, If and when the need arose, Chanderpaul had it in him to bat at a frenetic pace.

Chanderpaul bids adieu to international cricket amid absolutely no fanfare whatsoever. When the likes of Virender Sehwag, Zaheer Khan, Kumar Sangakkara, Michael Clarke, and other established cricketers retired in 2015 there were tributes and celebrations abound from a large portion of the cricketing fraternity. When Chanderpaul retired, there were a few tweets from WICB, ECB, Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman, Anil Kumble, Darren Sammy, and Harsha Bhogle, but hardly any glowing tributes or testaments made in his name.

Chanderpaul was a reliable giant in a team of mercurial under-performers. He bows out of international cricket with a record most other cricketers could only dream about. He went about getting those milestones unannounced and unfettered. He retired in a similar fashion.

Thank you, Tiger. And good luck.

(Shiamak Unwalla, a reporter with CricketCountry, is a self-confessed Sci-Fi geek who loves cricket more than cricketers. His Twitter handle is @ShiamakUnwalla)