Shivnarine Chanderpaul: The glue that binds the West Indies batting

The No 1-ranked side in Test cricket, England may be fancying a series victory against West Indies in the upcoming Test series, but they would have to put in considerable efforts to dislodge the determined Shivnarine Chanderpaul © Getty Images

By Nishad Pai Vaidya

 

Darren Sammy’s inspirational leadership is gradually plotting a West Indian resurgence, but the man who has epitomised their hopes for years – Shivanarine Chanderpaul – has been a central figure in the revival. Through all the sufferings of the tumultuous years for West Indies cricket, Chanderpaul was the lone battling sailor on the sinking Caribbean ship. The consistency with which he played was in stark contrast to erratic tendencies of some of his team-mates. However, with a recovery in order, Chanderpaul’s role becomes even more crucial as he heads into the twilight of his career.

 

In the recently-concluded Test series against Australia, Chanderpaul touched a number of highs. Not only did he score his 10,000 Test run, but he also regained the No 1 spot in the rankings for Test batsmen after a gap of almost three years. Although the 2-0 result may indicate an Australian dominance, the West Indies had their moments. Chanderpaul was chiefly responsible for putting them in such positions, but they lacked the finishing touch to seal the deal.
 

 

 

 

Chanderpaul’s stats for the series:

 

M

Runs

Avg

100s

50s

Highest

3

346

86.50

1

3

103*

 

 

West Indies’ second highest run scorer of the series was Darren Bravo, who scored 184 runs. The huge gap between the two illustrates the kind of support he has had throughout his career. In fact, after the retirement of Brian Lara, Chanderpaul had to shoulder more responsibility and handle the middle order almost single-handedly.
 

The unfailing sentinel since the retirement of Lara

 

Lara played his last Test in Pakistan in 2006 and since then, it has been Chanderpaul who has done most of the scoring for West Indies. Players of repute such as Ramnaresh Sarwan, Chris Gayle and Dwayne Bravo haven’t matched the high standards set by him as he is miles ahead of them.

 

Stats of the West Indies batsmen since Lara’s retirement:

 

Player

M

Runs

Avg

100s

50s

Highest

Shiv Chanderpaul

39

3319

66.38

11

19

166

Chris Gayle

27

2114

49.16

6

7

333

Ramnaresh Sarwan

22

1574

43.72

6

5

291

Darren Bravo

16

1339

49.59

3

7

195

Brendan Nash

21

1103

33.42

2

8

114

Dwayne Bravo

21

1087

30.19

1

7

104

 

 

Gayle, Sarwan and Dwayne Bravo aren’t part of the West Indies Test line-up anymore and the onus on Chanderpaul has increased. Indeed, the senior citizen of West Indian cricket has been an exemplary role model for the younger lot.

 

Stats against the best sides

 

Chanderpaul grows roots at the crease while playing against India as his tremendous record against them is legendary. But a cursory glance at his stats makes it clear that he has scored runs against the most formidable attacks of his time namely – Australia, South Africa and England.

 

Chanderpaul’s records against the said teams:

 

Team

M

Runs

Avg

100s

50s

Highest

Australia

20

1649

49.96

5

11

118

England

31

2124

50 57

5

14

147*

South Africa

20

1619

5059

5

  7

203*

 

 

Contrary to perceptions of some of the Indian fans, it isn’t their team alone that has been at the receiving end of his grit. Australia, England and South Africa have had to contend with his determination as he engaged in quite a few memorable battles against them. The fact that he has scored 15 of his 25 Test hundreds against the best attacks going around speaks volumes of his quality.
 

Home and away conundrum
If there is anything that reduces Chanderpaul’s aura, it is his home-away mismatch. Similar to his Sri Lankan contemporary, Mahela Jayawardene, Chanderpaul isn’t as prolific away from home. His stats at home are impressive and reflect his dominance, but those returns reduce significantly overseas. Here are the relevant numbers:

 

M

Runs

Avg

100s

50s

Highest

Overall

140

10055

50.02

25

59

203*

Home

69

5444

59.17

17

29

203*

Away

69

4510

42.95

8

29

140

Neutral

  2

101

25.25

0

1

66

 

On many an occasion, Chanderpaul has essayed fighting knocks away from home, but they haven’t been as big as those he scored in the Caribbean. What this indicates is that most of the good work against the best attacks has been on home surfaces. However, all that changes once you consider his record in England and India, the only two foreign territories where he averages above 50. Let us have a look at his record in England as West Indies are scheduled to play a Test series there in a few weeks from now.

 

Record in England

 

During the tours to England in 2004 and 2007, West Indies slipped to humiliating defeats in the Test series’. Chanderpaul was the silver lining as he won the man-of-the-series awards on both occasions. His knock of 116 not out against England in 2007 was one of his best. Chanderpaul was having a phenomenal summer and looked like an impenetrable fort. West Indies had to chase 455 at Manchester and he was the only one who spent considerable time in the middle. The other batsmen got off to some great starts but didn’t last long enough to provide support. In the end, they lost by 60 runs. But the story would have been a lot different had someone given him a valuable hand in the tough task.

His overall record in England:

 

 

 

M

Runs

Avg

100s

50s

Highest

13

1164

64.66

3

7

136*

 

Having shown tremendous signs of form in the last few months, Chanderpaul moves into familiar territory. The No 1-ranked side in Test cricket may be fancying a series victory against West Indies, but they would have to put in considerable efforts to dislodge the determined left-hander. England better beware, an in-form Chanderpaul is coming your way.

 

(Nishad Pai Vaidya is a club-level cricketer with an analytic mind and a sharp eye. It was this sharpness which spotted a wrong replay in IPL4 resulting in Sachin Tendulkar’s dismissal. Some of his analytical pieces have come in for high praise from cerebral former cricketers. Nishad can also be followed on Twitter)