Chanderpaul’s 193 keep Warwickshire title hopes alive
At 37, Guyanese left-hander Shiv Chanderpaul is in the twilight of what has been an illustrious International career which began 17 years ago on his home ground Bourda, but the experienced West Indies batsman is still hungry for big scores.
While Chanderpaul insists that international cricket remains his priority – “I’m available for them in all formats” he said – there is now a growing chance that his future is in county cricket. If the West Indies don’t want him – and they must be a very fine side to leave out such a talent – Warwickshire surely will.
In only his second match for Warwickshire, Chanderpaul who is now only considered for Test cricket by the West Indies selectors, fell just seven short of a superb double century after resuming the penultimate day of his team’s four-day match against Yorkshire on 167 with the total on 340-6.
After a watchful start, Chanderpaul grew in confidence and, having swept Wainwright out of the attack, he unveiled some unusually elegant drives and pulled with power and precision. Less eye-catching but equally impressive was the way he nudged and guided the ball into gaps. It was his ninth century in just his 34th Championship game. He’s also made 14 half-centuries.
Chanderpaul, the most capped West Indies Test player, was caught behind off Steven Patterson at 458-8 after facing 306 balls and batting for 436 minutes. His 57th First-Class century was decorated with 26 fours and spurred Warwickshire to an emphatic innings and 58-run win to keep their title hopes alive.
Chanderpaul’s performance was all the more surprising for the contrast with his batting against Hampshire when he managed one and a duck on his debut for his new county team.
Before that game, however, Chanderpaul says he felt short of practise and he responded to the early loss by reporting to Edgbaston for extra training. It seems to have done the trick.
Chasing Yorkshire’s 297 the rest of Warwickshire’s batting folded a little too easily. Ian Westwood shuffled in front of one that went straight on, Varun Chopra missed one that nipped back and Jim Troughton again squandered a decent start by edging a flashing cut stroke. Later Darren Maddy was adjudged leg before despite there being a hint of bat involved.
Still, with Chanderpaul there to provide backbone, such issues could be overlooked. Just as Mohammad Yousuf provided a telling contribution in the home game against Worcestershire, Chanderpaul made the telling contribution here. It’s exactly what the overseas player is required to do.
After their 482 left Yorkshire, who now face relegation, with a mountain to climb, they were bowled out for 127 in their second innings as Chris Wright took 5-31 as the match was over with a day to spare.
Chanderpaul might not be the most flamboyant batsman ever but he puts a huge price on his wicket and posses immense concentration.
Along with the likes of Raul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar and Ricky Ponting, Chanderpaul is among the last breed of the real old fashion batsmen who enjoy occupation of the crease and compiling big scores.
In this modern age of t20 cricket and the over exposure to it by teenage level batsmen, the powers of concentrating for long periods in the middle and building an innings could soon be a lost art among young batsmen even at the Test level.
Chanderpaul’s big hundred yesterday and the success it brought his team underlined the importance of players like Chanderpaul to modern day cricket.