Shiv: It takes some very hard work

MUMBAI, India – Shivnarine Chanderpaul is just a few months away from completing two decades of Test cricket, but he has already touched a high insofar as the number of times he has been capped by the West Indies.

He has worn the traditional maroon cap portraying sea, sunshine, palm tree and stumps with pride.

On Thursday he will reach the landmark figure of 150 in Test cricket. More often than not he has proved to be a thorn in Indian players’ flesh.

Supporters of West Indies cricket are often reminded of the stunning deeds of left-handers such as Garfield Sobers, Clive Lloyd, Roy Fredericks, Alvin Kallicharan and, of course, Brian Lara.

“It is not every day that someone gets to a 150th Test match, so it is a milestone for me. I am looking forward to it. With Sachin playing his 200th Test match, I would be honoured to be a part of it,” Chanderpaul said on Tuesday.

“It takes a lot of work. You have to put in a lot of work. As an individual you have to pick yourself up to go to the nets, do a lot of work, practice the way you go bat in the game.

He added: “There are so many things you have to do - training, keeping the fitness and everything that takes to get on the park and get your work done. And also maintain a standard you think will help you to succeed at the highest level.”

In more recent times, Chris Gayle has kept attention on him and West Indies cricket with his bellicose batting; more of hitting in contrast to Lara’s sublime strokeplay. Chanderpaul is a far cry from his teammates who have flaunted power and dexterous use of the wrists and dominated bowling attacks.

Chanderpaul has tackled top-notch bowling line-ups in the world with a far less appealing style of play.

Even with a very unconventional stance he has managed to baulk the best bowlers in the business and this is reflected in his collection of 10,897 runs with 28 centuries, 61 half-centuries at an impressive average of 51.89, which has gone as high as 65.78 scoring 2,105 runs against India in 24 Tests.

Seven centuries and 10 half-centuries bear testimony to his high success rate against India, but it was evident at the Eden Gardens, Kolkata, that his powers are on the wane and it was beyond him to stem the rot.

Chanderpaul scored his first century against India in March 1997 at Bridgetown. He scored an unbeaten 137; in fact, he has three more unbeaten knocks against India (101 at Bridgetown in 2002, 136 at St. John’s in 2002 and 116 at Roseau in July 2011).

His other three centuries are 140 at Georgetown in 2002, 140 at Kolkata in 2002 and 118 at Delhi in 2011.

The stoical left-hander has also shown his fondness for the English attack. He has scored 2,359 runs in 33 Tests against England at an average of 52.42. He has also made 1,649 runs against Australia and 1,619 runs against South Africa.

He is 1,015 runs short of Lara’s highest of 11,912 for the West Indies. At 39 years, it’s a matter of conjecture if he would ultimately displace Lara; it looks unlikely.

If he does, even Lara would doff his hat appreciating an admirable feat.

Tue, 11/12/2013 - 07:05