Eight West Indians have played over 100 Tests, but Shivnarine Chanderpaul’s nearest ‘rival’ as the most capped player for that group of islands is the long-retired Courtney Walsh with 132.
It is unfortunate, though probably fitting, that even as he takes the field for his 150th Test, Chanderpaul won’t be the man in the spotlight.
For much of his career, Chanderpaul lived in the shadow of his illustrious fellow middle-order resident Brian Lara and even now, few include him in any discussion about great batsmen of the last two decades.
Right from marking his guard by knocking the bail into the ground to his front- on stance and the impossible technique he uses to guide the ball into the gaps, there doesn’t seem to be an orthodox bone in his body.
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Yet, he stands just 103 runs short of the 11,000-run mark and averages almost 52.
“As an individual, you have to pick yourself up to go to the nets, do a lot of work, practise the way you bat in the game. 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,” Chanderpaul had said after training here on Tuesday.
Through years of mediocrity and false dawns, Chanderpaul has been the Windies’ unheralded and unassuming batting rock, and skipper Darren Sammy wants his team to make amends now.
“It is a big milestone for him and for us as West Indians. Obviously, it will be overshadowed by Sachin’s 200. But we as a team would go out and work hard for Shiv."
“Like Sachin, everybody can see he has not changed. When it comes to his batting, the way he prepares, he has been the same ever since I have known him."
“You could see the way it reflects on his game. He practises exactly the same way he wants to go out and play. I hope he goes on to score 150 in his 150th match. I don’t know if I could say the same for Sachin, since that means he will get a double. But Shiv has been very important to us,” Sammy said.
“The young players could take a page out of his book, the way he prepares. Hopefully, he will be around the dressing room for a few years to come. He looks fit, feels good and is scoring runs.”
Reproduced from Mail Today. Copyright 2013. MTNPL. All rights reserved.