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THE FINEST: Chanderpaul in one-day action for the Windies

SHIVNARINE CHANDERPAUL’S continual efforts to shore up a floundering West Indies Test side have pushed him to the pinnacle.

The notion of the Guyanese left-hander as the finest West Indian batsmen of all time is one that gets the blood flowing.

It is also some statement considering that the Caribbean has produced great batsmen from Everton Weekes through to Brian Lara via Viv Richards.

Yet it is also the view held by the latter. “In a team of inexperienced players, Shivnarine has done as much as any West Indian batsmen of the past,” said Richards.

“I have him up there with the best – Lara, [Garry] Sobers. He’s at the top of the tree as far as I’m concerned because of the teams he has played in.”

No man has made more Test runs in losing causes and no man has made more unbeaten Test centuries.

In December 2013, the 39-year-old became the seventh batsman to pass 11,000 Test runs and is currently scoring runs for Derbyshire in the latest demonstration of his longevity.


England captain Alastair Cook took the headlines for his 181 as Essex beat Derbyshire by 53 runs in their Division Two opener but, typically, Chanderpaul was on the other side compiling an unbeaten 75 in Derbyshire’s first innings and supplementing that with 52 runs in their second.

He has long addressed his youthful problem of turning half-centuries into centuries as well as those misplaced accusations of hypochondria.

The dignified batsman has been above the unseemly player squabbles with the West Indies Cricket Board and has excelled as the Windies’ elder statesman.

His Test average rose in the wake of Lara’s retirement in 2007, from 44.60 in 101 Tests to almost 70 in the subsequent 52, and he has surreptitiously etched his name alongside the all-time greats.
It is with an uncanny similarity to a Chanderpaul innings that he has pulled and swiped his way to the top.

Even if one were to settle for the lesser notion of Chanderpaul as the finest West Indian number six, he still deserves to be lauded in an era when the West Indies, for various reasons, seem incapable of producing Test and first-class players.

Chris Gayle to Kieron Pollard are garnering numerous headlines in Twenty20 cricket, and rightly so.

Those who value the West Indies as a Test side beyond limited overs cricket may well cherish Chanderpaul above the more illustrious lights.

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