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Chanderpaul’s Quest

Part III
By Ray Sundar

Oct. 29, 2008
In our last issue dated Spring ’08, we examined THE SHIV’S meteoric rise in the post Lara era. Through the Sri Lankan tour of the West Indies, Shiv’s exploits and continued excellence kept on propelling him to greater heights.
Next the mighty world champions, the Aussies, visited the West Indies. Now if Shiv could tame this brash group of cricketers, then the sky is the limit. As it stands now Lara (11952), Richards (8542) and Sobers (8032) stand in his way as it pertains to his assault on the West Indies test aggregate record.

In the recently concluded three test series against the Australians, the Shiv adroitly placed willow to leather thus creating a cacophonous sound as the ball scampers to all parts of the field. Seems as though he went “hunting kangaroos”, as he led both sides in runs (442), average (147), centuries (2) and fifties (3). Not even Lee’s bouncer to the back of the head could keep him down for long. He laid motionless on the pitch for a few anxious and scary moments while his wife sobbed uncontrollably in the stands. Then miraculously, perhaps foolishly, he resumed batting. Just cannot keep a good man down! Like a champion prizefighter, he courageously answered the 8th count. Not shabby at all against the cocky and arrogant Aussies! Inevitably he was named man of the series. His thunderous assaults on Ponting’s brigade saw him ascend to # 5 in the world test standings. And by the end of the series he landed in the # 2 spot, leapfrogging all the Aussies. Yes, surpassing the mighty Ponting! The inevitable question is, why not # 1?

In the process he became the first Guyanese to scale the 8000 test runs plateau and the fourth West Indian to accomplish this feat. Not even the great 3 W’s came close!

The Shiv has been, and continues to be, in terrific form. Lara’s hasty retreat seemed to have energized him, unleashing the tiger in him. Has he finally exorcised Lara’s demons? Certainly seems so!

The interesting part is the Shiv has been doing it quietly, in his own inimitable, unique, peculiar way, for years. He has withstood the early disappointments when the WICB kept pushing Arthurton ahead of him for reasons other than merit (actually in my presence a Bajan fellow at Lords implored him not to lose faith, that the WICB will come calling), the inability to convert 50’s into 100’s, the earlier unwarranted and spurious diatribe of the TriniBago tag team – of the firm of Baksh and Mohammed, plus others and an assortment of injuries.

At 8001 runs he needs 32 to surpass the great Sobers. This should be eclipsed in the next test he plays. It should be noted Sobers reached 8032 in 93 tests whereas Shiv needed 112 +. Further, it must be made crystal clear that Lloyd, Haynes, Greenidge and Shiv reached their respective milestones in a similar number of tests. It looks like Shiv will take a similar # of tests to equal and or pass Richards. Of course, injuries and expedient shenanigans notwithstanding!

At the moment this most unpretentious son of Unity Village, Guyana resides temporarily at the # 4 spot (West Indies Test Aggregate). # 2 is within shouting distance - 539 to eclipse Richards.

His continuous vicious onslaught on bowlers around the world, whether pace or spin, has propelled him to the inevitable - # 1 batsman in the world

Guyana’s highest award await?
Wait a minute! Not so fast!
For being the best batsman in the world, ahead of Ricky Ponting, Sachin Tendulkar,
Rahul Dravid, all iconic figures, and every other batsman, irregardless of country of origin, in his infinite wisdom, President Jagdeo saw fit to award The Shiv with the lowly Golden Arrow of Achievement. According to Stabroek News this is # 3 on the totem pole. Also, this is limited to 200 living Guyanese.

All Guyanese - Black, Brown, Portuguese, Mixed, Chinese, Amerindian should gently nudge the honorable President to rectify this egregious action by awarding the Shiv the # 1 Guyanese award – Order of Excellence. At the moment the master batsman is Guyana’s best roving Ambassador.

Apparently the Guyana constitution, as amended, makes allowance for 25 Awards of Excellence (the top award) to be granted “to living Guyanese of distinction and eminence in the field of human endeavor of either national or international significance and importance”. Now I am not going to quibble as to whom belongs there. Nor am I going to engage in revisionist history. But from the partial list I saw I could not tell who is/was # 1 in his/her profession. What I do know Chanderpaul is # 1. Not only in Guyana, not only in the West Indies, but in the entire world. Can anyone state with metaphysical certainty that Burnham, Ramphal, Rose, Chung, Reid, Shahabuddeen, Janet Jagan, Boysie Ramkarran, Chase were/are #1?.

President Jagdeo needs to rescind # 3 and institute #1. Pronto!
It’s a no-brainer, Mr. President. It’s of great consequence and patriotic pride and the right thing to do.
Shiv has earned the distinction to be 1 of 25, not 1 of 200.
He did it the old-fashioned way……. he earned it.
And here is a recurring nightmare for President Jagdeo…… The Shiv was just nominated for:
1. the best cricketer of the year award
2. the best test player of the year award
As just 4 cricketers are nominated in each category, the absolute worse case scenario for The Shiv is # 4 in each category. That’s in the world!
C’mon Mr.President, be part of The Shiv’s historic year, not a hindrance!

PS: The Shiv was named the best cricketer of the year.

Editor’s note: This article appeared in Cricketstar’s Summer 2008 issue.

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