By Ravendra Madholall in Toronto
A host of adjectives can aptly describe Shivnarine Chanderpaul who is still superb and solid as the Guyanese will be playing in his 150th test match from Wednesday against India at Mumbai.
The left-hander has been a phenomenal test batsman since his first appearance in March 1994 at the former international venue, Bourda much to the delight of the fans.
Predominantly this two-match series has been arranged for the great and iconic batsman Sachin Tendulkar who will be accomplishing an incredible 200 test caps and then to bow out. It may be naïve to say that Chanderpaul should not haul some of the accolades that will shower on the undisputed hero, Sachin.
His career has been stunning too given the fact he did remarkable things as a batsman and was duly called Mr. reliable as he proved it via his marvellous consistency with astonishing performances.
He can be rated a high-profile cricketer in the long list of West Indies dominant batsmen. Since the exit of the great Brian Lara, Chanderpaul has taken up the mantle with superb efficiency. His captaincy was respected but the rapid decline in West Indies’ cricket demonstrated a sense of incompetence unfortunately.
His style as a batsman has never been in doubt but an alteration to his unique stance captured the kind imagination of many viewers both at the ground and on TV.
In contemporary cricket, he has displayed a heroic athletic passion churning out admirable performances and the revelations of statistics and records can give ample justification. His 63-ball century against a powerful Australian lineup at Bourda is still unforgettable to many loyal and adorable West Indian fans.
Not known to be a fluent speaker but he uses his bat with mighty concentration while he has been instrumental in many achievements for Guyana and the Caribbean side over the years. A first-class triple-century at Sabina Park against a formidable Jamaica side also epitomised his profound and superlative love and predictable appetite for runs.
There was not too many to shout about in the first game at Eden Gardens as India whipped West Indies by an innings and 51 runs, courtesy of two centurions. West Indies’ first-innings batting performance was simply modest while the second innings they capitulated at the hands of some tidy and intelligent bowling from the combination of pace and spin.
Chanderpaul contributed marginally in both innings with 36 and 31 not out but the journey to the accomplishment of 150 tests has been fantastic! Many may have wondered what the road is like but he is a man with great determination and dedication. Additionally, there is a massive degree of motivation and this record is indeed esteem!
Now this batting beauty approaching a landmark there is time to reflect on his distinguished career. Even at the under-19 days Shiv was considered a player to have achieved many great cricketing feats. This is because of his self-perseverance and wonderful commitment.
For certain he always wants to stick to his philosophy as a cricketer that hard work will pay dividends on a regular basis. From the grassroots at Unity Village on the East Coast Demerara he was a sturdy trainer and worked assiduously on his physical and mental fitness.
What transpired in the opening test against India will able to see that Chanderpaul and his colleagues will have to come out and be more stubborn to square the series and to give him something special to reminisce on this memorable encounter.
We can anticipate that this 39-year-old veteran will come to the fore with a significant contribution and keep improving his test batting average from 51.89 and his accumulation of 10,897 runs in this form of the game.
He gets lots of admiration for his continued battle on the field when most of his colleagues fell in quick succession. The indomitable approach is definitely indicative of his willingness to make an impact. He batted with customary stubbornness and tenacity and never really showed the tendency for flamboyance particularly in the longer version of the game. He had done something quite extraordinarily having batted for 1000 consecutive minutes without being dismissed, an occupation that is currently unmatched.
So another superb innings in this second and final test will confirm his solidity.