As I bit into my lunch burrito today and checked Cricinfo I noted that again Shivnarine Chanderpaul has come to the aid of his team scored an innings saving century in New Zealand.
It left me pondering Chanderpaul’s place in the game in the eyes of the fans and the pundits. What I mean is this: when one considers the modern greats of the game how often is the name Chanderpaul mentioned? With no scientific evidence to back this, I am of the view that he is oft the forgotten man when it comes to considering those who dominated the game in the last 20 years.
Chanderpaul debuted in 1994 and has amassed the following record:
Now consider that record in comparison to these records of those who have played the game since Chanderpaul’s debut on 17 March 1994:
|SR Tendulkar (India)||1994-2013||169||286||13952||54.28||44||58|
|RT Ponting (Aus)||1995-2012||168||287||13378||51.85||41||62|
|R Dravid (ICC/India)||1996-2012||164||286||13288||52.31||36||63|
|JH Kallis (ICC/SA)||1995-2013||165||278||13140||55.21||44||58|
|S Chanderpaul (WI)||1994-2013||153||260||11199||52.08||29||62|
|BC Lara (ICC/WI)||1994-2006||119||212||11012||53.45||33||41|
|DPMD Jayawardene (SL)||1997-2013||138||232||10806||49.56||31||45|
|KC Sangakkara (SL)||2000-2013||117||200||10486||56.98||33||42|
|GC Smith (ICC/SA)||2002-2013||113||196||9102||49.46||27||38|
|VVS Laxman (India)||1996-2012||134||225||8781||45.97||17||56|
|ML Hayden (Aus)||1996-2009||102||182||8605||51.22||30||29|
|V Sehwag (ICC/India)||2001-2013||104||180||8586||49.34||23||32|
|KP Pietersen (Eng)||2005-2013||102||177||8052||47.64||23||34|
|MJ Clarke (Aus)||2004-2013||100||170||7987||52.2||26||27|
|AN Cook (Eng)||2006-2013||100||179||7955||47.07||25||34|
|SR Waugh (Aus)||1994-2004||105||164||7582||55.75||25||33|
The final part of the puzzle when it comes to Chanderpaul’s place in the game and his future legacy is how he has performed against the best teams in the world over the span of his career:
|Chanderpaul v Country||Matches||Innings||Runs||Average||100’s||50’s|
These numbers compare more than a bit well to those of any Chanderpaul’s contemporaries don’t they? On their own they put him right up there with the greats who have strapped on a pad. Then you have to add to the impressiveness of these numbers the quality of the team that Chanderpaul has been playing in for all of these years. Here are the records of each test playing team during Chanderpaul’s career:
Therein lies the real story behind the record of Chanderpaul: he has performed consistently and excellently at the highest level whilst all around him (particularly since 2006 when Lara retired) has been the disarray of a declining team and bitter infighting between the board and the players in the team.
I am left to wonder whether Chanderpaul would receive more of the kudos he so obviously deserves if he played for Australia or a similarly successful team. I also wonder if Chanderpaul’s method at the crease was more aesthetically pleasing, like that of Lara, whether he would similarly receive said kudos. I am certain that both wonderings should be answered in the affirmative.
We have recently seen the retirement of Tendulkar and his, effective, coronation by all and sundry in the game as a living deity. Chanderpaul’s record over his career is equally as impressive as Tendulkar’s and there is a strong argument that he has been more important to his team than Tendulkar was (Tendulkar had the benefit Messrs Sehwag, Dravid and Laxman to bat with afternoon). His retirement cannot be far away and one can only hope that he gets the same consideration given by the ICC and his home cricket board as Tendulkar received. Frankly tough I suspect he will remain the forgotten great of the game he presently is.