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Chanderpaul Should Be The Real World # One

By Orin Davidson
June 28th, 2008
Cricketers first priority is to provide service to his country that translates into playing for team victories. But distractions have popped up in recent times.

Shivnarine Chanderpaul
Photo courtesy of brooks-la-touche-photography

The introduction of the world rankings for individual players in batting and bowling is a new consideration fans use to measure players’ ability.

Until recently, the International Cricket Council (ICC) rankings have Ricky Ponting as its world number one batsman.

But from the way he has been batting recently and presently Shivnarine Chanderpaul would top any properly constituted rating.

The West Indian ace was pushed up into the number two spot last week, based primarily on his phenomenal scoring especially over the last year.

It is the only consolation West Indian fans can be proud of these days as even Chanderpaul’s exploits have not helped his team off the cellar in the world rankings.

Australia won the just concluded Frank Worrell series, but although they may be happy about that, the world champions ought to be worried about Ponting’s batting.

By his lofty standards, this series has been a failure. Ponting notched only one century, in his very first innings of the three Test series and only managed one other half century.

Even in the first One Day Internationals, Ponting has been scalped in both matches for single figure scores by Jerome Taylor who has made the Australian captain his bunny, after dismissing him three times in the six Test innings.

That is unbecoming of any world number best player, more so since he is being made to look bad by a team ranked second to last in the world ratings.

While on the other hand you have Chanderpaul handling the world’s number one team bowling like child’s play, notching 442 runs in the six Test innings that includes two centuries, three 50’s three not outs for a phenomenal average of 147. Compare that to Ponting’s 323 runs from six innings, no not outs, for a 63 average and you get a better picture of who is the real world number one.

One can proclaim that a swallow does not make a summer, and while it might be case for Ponting’s rare series scoring drought, Chanderpaul has been manhandling opposition bowling over the last three series.

A year ago in England he started his impregnable streak, carving out an epic 148.66 average off the home team for 446 runs in five innings, getting out only three times from five innings.

Subsequently when West Indies went calling in South Africa, Marlon Samuels got into his own with his best batting performance ever in a series, and while he got first chances at the top of the order, Chanderpaul still managed to rally off a 82.33 average batting among the tail enders, tallying 247 runs with two not outs.

The short series against Sri Lanka was once again dominated by a batsman coming good at the top of the order above Chanderpaul, when Ramnaresh Sarwan took center stage.

It left Chanderpaul with one not out from the four innings that yielded him 130 runs.

Before the Australia series, the expectation was one of the dusting down of West Indies by the world champions and a showcase of Ponting’s batting talent.

The Guyanese though is showing his teammates why the benefits of relentless net batting practice is so priceless.

“I worked very hard in the nets after the IPL,” Chanderpaul explained after accepting his Man of the Series award.

Chris Gayle, Sarwan Dwayne Bravo, Samuels would do well to follow their ace batsman’s lead to get some consistency in their performances.

And it helps that Chanderpaul has fully developed the mental strength to preserve his wicket like his life depends on it.

In so doing the Guyanese has distanced himself the rest of the batting phenoms around the world.

Kevin Pieterson of England manages to notch the valuable big score when England most needs it, but nothing sensational while the powerful Australian Matthew Hayden is feeling the effects of age, as he seems out of action for a lengthy period with a serious Achilles injury.

It will be difficult seeing him regaining the type of dominating form he displayed against India this year when he complied three centuries in the four Tests, given his 36 years.

Meanwhile the official world number one, Sri Lanka’s Kumara Sangakara surprisingly tailed off against the modest West Indies attack earlier this year and seemed a shadow of the player who spent the latter half of 2007 in a blaze of glory that saw his taking two double centuries, two single centuries and a 92 off Bangladesh, England and Australia.

Undoubtedly, Chanderpaul’s competence in both forms of the game ---- lets not forget his exploits in that 13-run last over victory target, that he clinched with a four and a last ball six off Sri Lanka, is the world batsman of the moment.

He has surely made a mockery of the ICC rankings.
Orin Davidson Column Homepage

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