Tagenarine Chanderpaul has begun well. But he must continue to pile on the runs!
Tagenarine Chanderpaul has begun well. But he must continue to pile on the runs! Opener Tagenarine Chanderpaul remained unbeaten on 207 runs as West Indies put up 447/6 on the board in their first innings in the first Test of a two-match series against Zimbabwe in Bulawayo.
“The West Indies batting is going nowhere!”
“With the likes of Lara and Shiv, Hooper and Sarwan long gone and Gayle ever closer to the edge of an imminent retirement, their best is over!”
Not enough? Not nearly enough?
“There seems to be a massive void in batting talent; who’ll be the crusader for the times to come? It seems there’s little hope.”
Wrong. Well, Tagenarine Chanderpaul is here.
It took Shivnarine Chanderpaul nearly thirteen cricketing summers to score a double century in the highest echelons of the game, the dogged leftie doing it versus the Proteas in 2005.
But it took his son, Tagenarine Chanderpaul only his second-ever Test series to register a Test double.
In so doing, a passionate son went past his famous father, sporting the same West Indian white and burgundy colours with which one’s come to recognize Caribbean Test cricket.
Moreover, Chanderpaul’s first ever Test century culminated in a Test double that deserves to become famous.
If anything, it’s a beginning of massive reckoning that puts the Guyanese in an elite company; the other West Indians whose maiden Test hundred manifested a double century include the likes of Rohan Kanhai, Gary Sobers, Kyle Mayers and Brian Charles Lara.
But well and truly speaking, the arrival of Chanderpaul in the highest form of cricket one knows augurs well for the West Indies.
Besides bringing back a famous surname that became a conveyor of excellence at the test level and must it be said, a hint of strong nostalgia, it points to the start of a new chapter.
The only question now is, can Tagenarine ensure that the romance for batting at the Test level continues with his inherent Chanderpaul-ness?
And how long can this capable batsman, evidently comfortable for playing long innings go around for the West Indies?
Whether it’s blunting the seam attack or offering the dead defence of the willow to spin, here’s what stood out in Tagenarine Chanderpaul’s inning that notched up a famous double century.
The left-hander stood tall for 467 deliveries and yet, managed to remain unbeaten.
Chanderpaul, it ought to be reinstated, is just 5 Test innings old in international cricket. He currently averages 91. Let that sink in.
If that’s not special, then what is?
At a time where the West Indies Test side surely seems to be rebuilding, with strong talents of the reputation of Kyle Mayers, the deputy Jermaine Blackwood, the rising Joshua Da Silva and fellow Guyanese spinner Gudakesh Motie are all finding their feet at the highest level, Chanderpaul’s arrival boosts the morale of the side.
Yet, on his 26-year-old young shoulders rests the immense responsibility of soldering on for the West Indies, perhaps not the strongest adjective of playing patient and gusty cricket at the highest level.
Surely, his biggest challenges lie in front of him; how might he hold up against a Shami and Bumrah, how will he enforce himself versus an Archer and Wood.
But the way he has begun and demonstrated a sense of maturity so rare in a hot-blooded West Indian culture of vile hitting and airy strokes, it seems the battles ahead are going to be interesting.
Let’s hope that the famous brand of Chanderpaul temerity and mental toughness wills it, and wins it in the end.