Chanderpaul starts Derbyshire stint
DERBYSHIRE, ENGLAND - Most people long for the easy life.
Not Shivnarine Chanderpaul. At an age when most cricketers have laid down their bats to gather dust in the shed, he could have been forgiven for taking a few weeks off to enjoy sipping soft drinks in 30 degree heat at his home in Florida.
Instead, the 38-year-old West Indies batsman arrived at the County Ground in a withering early spring chill to begin the first of two – maybe three – physically-demanding seasons on the county cricket circuit with Derbyshire.
On the face of it, what more is there to prove for a player who is eighth on the all-time list of Test run scorers and has earned his place among the long list of great cricketers to emerge from the Caribbean?
Why should anyone who has 10,830 Test and 8,778 one-day international runs to his name put his reputation on the line to try to help Derbyshire adjust to the demands of Division One of the LV County Championship?
The answer is simple. Batting is as much a part of Shivnarine Chanderpaul as breathing and for as long as he stays at the top of his game, he is prepared to keep stretching himself with new challenges.
"The hunger, the passion is still there," he said. "I just love the game and I want to play. I enjoy it and hopefully I can do that for another couple of years.
"If you are playing, you have to perform and that's what it's all about. Anybody can perform and anybody can not. It happens sometimes where you do and sometimes you don't but it happens to everybody.
"You just take pride in keeping preparing yourself and work as hard as you can to get yourself mentally and physically ready to go out there so that when you are out on the park, you are ready for it."
Three centuries in his last five Test innings more than hints that Chanderpaul is a player who still has plenty to offer and, as well as his runs, a large part of the reason why he has been brought in by head coach Karl Krikken is so his new team-mates can dip into that deep well of experience.
"I have got a lot of experience over the years and I'll hopefully pass on some of it to the young fellas," he added.
"From what I am seeing so far, there is a lot of talent but we need some big scores. Some are getting them but others have to convert small scores into big scores also.
"They are young and sometimes you tend to play too many shots when you are young and you just need to curb it a little bit. Play what you see.
"It's going to be a little tougher and there a lot of good bowlers out there, maybe a little faster than in the second league. The guys have done well last year to get up to the next level, they are hungry and they want to do well in the next level also.
"Whatever I can do to help, I will try my best. We have a bunch of young fellas and I'm excited to be a part of it and play with these guys."
Chanderpaul will soon be joined by his family in their new Derby home, with oldest son Tagerarine also preparing to play cricket during his stay here. At the age of 16, he has played four first-class matches for Guyana this year and has signed to play for Stainsby Hall in the County League.
"He needs some experience. He's just come out of high school and he wanted to play cricket. I said 'fine, no problem'," said dad Shiv.
"He will still be doing some classes in between and go ahead with the cricket. He's still young and he's got a lot of potential.
"Batting-wise and bowling-wise, he still needs a lot of work and this is a perfect opportunity for him."
Being able to play and stay under the wing of his father can only help the youngster. Maybe one day there will be a second generation of Chanderpauls in the West Indies side but Shiv still has international ambitions of his own – including winning back his place in the one-day sides.
"I would love to be there and playing in the one-day series for West Indies," he admitted. "I was aiming to get past 10,000 one-day runs (he has 8,778) and unfortunately I've been left out.
"I'm just hoping I can get back in. If I keep doing well, hopefully the selectors will change their minds."