The Definitive: Shiv Chanderpaul

Shiv Chanderpaul – the eighth-highest Test run-scorer in history – takes Crispin Andrews through three generations of cricket-mad Chanderpauls.


I grew up in Unity, a village near Georgetown, Guyana. My dad, Khemraj, put up a net alongside our house, right next to the local cricket club. I spent hours batting. My dad, my uncle, and anyone else who turned up would bowl at me for hours. I learned to bowl, too, but only so I could get people out quickly so that I could bat again. It taught me to be tough, that you had to stand up and face everything that’s coming at you, which helped me when bigger boys started bowling bouncers at my head during street games.

The Support Act
75* | West Indies v England, 5th Test, Antigua, April 1994

It was only my fourth Test, and I was at the other end when Brian Lara got there [to his world record 375]. All I can remember is people running on to the ground and Brian hugging me. It was a special moment. Earlier, as he’d got closer to [Sir Garfield] Sobers’ score, I could see that Brian was tiring and losing his focus. He said to me, ‘I don’t know if I can go that far’, but I told him that he’d come this far already, and done the hard part, and just had a little further to go. ‘Just relax and you’ll get there,’ I told him. ‘Just keep fighting.’

The Breakthrough Ton
137* | West Indies v India, 3rd Test, Barbados, March 1997

My first Test hundred. It was a difficult wicket, a green seamer, lots of bounce. Everybody else had got out so I knew that if we were going to get a decent score I’d have to be there until the end. Curtly Ambrose really helped me get to my century. He came in and was running everything: singles, twos and threes. He pushed me towards that first century.

The Fourth-Fastest Test Ton
100 | West Indies v Australia, 1st Test, Guyana, April 2003

The game was on my home ground: a good wicket – not slow, but easy-paced. I’d just come off two hundreds in regional games against Jamaica and the Leeward Islands, both of whom had good fast bowlers. I knew it was going to be a good day when I pushed at my first ball and it went for four. It seemed like every time I laid bat on ball it beat the field and raced to the boundary. I was really in the zone and just kept finding the gaps. I wasn’t thinking about how many balls I’d faced, and I only knew how quick it was when I’d reached my century and the announcement came over the loudspeaker that it had all taken just 69 balls.

The Record Breaker
104 | West Indies v Australia, 4th Test, Antigua, May 2003

I broke my finger on the first day, so I didn’t field much and just batted. The first innings’ were even, around 240 each. We needed 418 to win in the second innings, and believed that if we batted well enough for long enough then we would win. The wicket was good, it was about building partnerships and everyone chipping in. Brian [Lara] got a few, and then I was batting with Ramnaresh Sarwan, I kept saying we needed to keep going and stick with the partnership as long as we could. So we dug in, but it was tough out there. Jason [Gillespie] was running in hard. Brett Lee, too. Glenn [McGrath] was bowling well and Stuart MacGill was hitting the rough outside the left-hander’s off-stump. I got out early on the final morning, for 104, chasing a wide one, but Vasbert Drakes and Omari Banks kept going and won the game for us. It’s still the highest successful Test match run-chase ever.

The Struggling Skipper
2 | New Zealand v West Indies, 3rd Test, Napier, March 2006

The game turned out to be my last one as captain. We’d had just one win from 14 Tests over the previous couple of years and I was under a lot of pressure. The team was not doing well and I wasn’t scoring any runs. It was a rough time. I didn’t enjoy being captain, so I thought it would be best to give it up, and give it to someone else. Then I could go back to focusing on my own game instead of worrying about everyone and everything.

The Blocker
107*, 77*, 79*, 50 | West Indies v Australia, 2nd and 3rd Tests, Antigua and Barbados, June 2008

Batting for over a thousand minutes without getting out takes a lot out of you, especially in the heat over here. In the second Test I batted 352 minutes and 336 minutes, then 226 minutes in the first innings at Barbados. When Stuart Clark got me out lbw in the second I’d batted another 201 minutes, that’s 1,115 altogether. It was hard work, but the opposition help if they start saying things to you. Yes I got sledged; some things I couldn’t say, but it helped me to perform.

The Disappointment
79* & 50 | West Indies v Australia, 3rd Test, Barbados, June 2008

It was sad to lose that series: especially after you’ve done all that work, been successful and are feeling physically drained. There was nothing to show for it. However, to win against the best team in the world all your players have to play well and we weren’t able to bowl out Australia twice.

The End of an Era
44* | Pakistan v West Indies, Mirpur, World Cup Quarter-Final, March 2011

This was my last one-day international before the selectors asked me to retire, and then dropped me when I wouldn’t. My ODI record was good: since 2006, I’d scored 3,387 runs at an average of 55.52. Obviously I was upset about it. You can understand getting dropped if you’re not scoring runs but that wasn’t the case. It’s something you have to forge through. You can’t live in the past.

The Next Generation
108 | Guyana v Trinidad and Tobago, Regional Four-Day Competition, Queen’s Park Oval, March 2013

My first first-class game with my son, Brandon. He got 42 in the first innings, I scored a century in the second. Earlier in the season we had put on 256 in a club game in Guyana, both scoring centuries. Brandon was telling me what he would do and what he wouldn’t do. I told him to calm down and play the situation. Like lots of youngsters, he’s a bit too aggressive sometimes. I’m trying to get him to realise that as an opening batsman you have to have a look at what the bowler is doing and leave a few balls up front. You can’t just go out there and smash everything.

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