With 164 appearances across a 21-year period, Shiv Chanderpaul is West Indies’ most capped player in Tests by some distance. His battling, over-my-dead-body career finally came to an end in 2015 after he had scored 11867 runs and made 30 hundreds. Brian Lara is the only West Indian who can boast better numbers in each of those categories and Chanderpaul is one of only six Caribbean players to end their Test career with a batting average in excess of 50.
Chanderpaul debuted in his home country of Guyana in 1994 against England. Batting at six, he chiselled 62 from 163 balls in an innings that hinted at what would become his penchant for gritty, fighting knocks. He made three more fifties during his debut series, but a first Test hundred would elude him for more than three years. When it finally arrived, against India in Barbados, it was as typical a Chanderpaul contribution as one could hope; 137* in a team score of 298 that proved pivotal in securing a win for West Indies.
That kind of dogged defiance would define Chanderpaul’s career as much as his unusually open batting stance. A left-hander, Chanderpaul would take guard with both feet pointing towards the bowler before his trigger movements allowed him to get into position to play classical cricket shots. His technique was as unique as it was recognisable and, though it is unlikely to feature in any coaching manuals, it worked for him and it came to embody his limpet-like refusal to give up his wicket while others around him were failing.
Chanderpaul saw it all during his time in the West Indies Test team. After making his debut alongside all-time greats such as Brian Lara, Richie Richardson, Curtly Ambrose and Courtney Walsh, he would play through West Indies’ sharp decline and his regular role as Last Man Standing took on a wider meaning in the context of West Indies cricket.
After three single figure scores in four innings during England’s 2015 tour to the Caribbean, Chanderpaul was left out of West Indies’ squad for their following series against Australia. He promptly retired in early 2016, without the grand farewell that some felt he deserved. He continued to play domestically in the UK for Lancashire where his 831 runs at 59.35 in 2017 showed that his appetite for runs was undiminished despite his advancing years.