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Mohammad Isam in Mirpur
November 14, 2012
While Tamim Iqbal was taking apart the West Indies attack in Mirpur, Shivnarine Chanderpaul walked up to him. "He asked me whether I was playing a Twenty20," Tamim said. "I replied that I'm just hitting what the bowlers are bowling but I can't bat like you." To which Chanderpaul said, "Neither can I."
Perhaps Chanderpaul meant that is the case at his current age of 38, because he has batted at higher strike-rates than Tamim in the past two decades, most memorably during the 69-ball century against Australia in 2003, which at the time was the third fastest Test hundred. In Mirpur, though, he showed the side of his batting that is more frequently seen these days.
His 203 took more than seven-and-a-half hours, the fifth longest innings in terms of minutes. He used the example of the first two days of this Test to explain how he changes the pace of his innings according to the situation. He batted at a strike-rate of 63 on the first day during which he scored 123 runs off 195 deliveries, but then he took 177 balls to score 80 on the second day, at a strike-rate of 45.2.
"These are things I work out in my game, whichever way I can," Chanderpaul said. "Sometimes you find yourself in good form and things go your way, you get into a rhythm and you're able to score freely and quicker. Some days you have to work hard, that's how it goes.
"We scored freely yesterday, but we had to work hard today. The [Bangladesh] bowlers tried a little too hard yesterday but today they bowled well. They bowled to a plan, stuck to it and made us work hard. You have to, as a Test cricketer, put your head down and work hard when the time comes."
His double-century also brought him level with Garry Sobers on 26 Test hundreds, leaving Brian Lara as the only West Indian with more Test tons. "The team comes first, it doesn't matter what the individual score is. Whatever the team plan is, that is what we have to stick to. It is always a great honour [to be mentioned] with names like Sir Garry, though I have played a lot more games than him."
This was only his second double-hundred, and he doesn't have the mammoth scores that Sobers and Lara ran up. "[Batting low down the order] could be one reason. I had opportunities to get a big hundred but I didn't, it's unfortunate. Thankfully today I was able to cross it ."
Chanderpaul's usefulness isn't limited to the field. He is a mentor to batsmen like Kieran Powell and Denesh Ramdin, both of whom shared long partnerships with him in this game. Powell missed a short ball from offspinner Sohag Gazi to be bowled after making a century, prompting Chanderpaul to have a talk with the young opener about his dismissal. "He played a fantastic innings yesterday. Unfortunately he got out the way he did. I had a chat with him about the way he did. I thought he should have played the first ball after tea a lot straighter.
"I didn't see anybody getting him out, he's the one who's giving his wicket away. I have talked to him about already. The future looks bright, you've seen [Veerasammy] Permaul today. We were here last year, you know what we have back home on offer. The future looks good for us."
At the end of the tour last year, Chanderpaul spent nearly half an hour with the Bangladesh batsmen. How Bangladesh would like to have someone like him in their midst for the long term.
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's correspondent in BangladeshFeeds: Mohammad Isam
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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