West Indies Cricket February 8, 2013

Chanderpaul Junior ready to take centrestage

Roger Sawh
It is not uncommon to see sons and daughters unable to live up to the 'hype' of their parents' great successes because, quite frankly, the bar has been set impossibly high

Read the following names, and make a note of how you feel: Matthew, Mali, Rohan, John. Not particularly bothered, right? Now read their fathers' names: Garfield, Vivian, Sunil, Donald. Now you're probably intrigued. Let's add surnames to the mix now: Sobers, Richards, Gavaskar, Bradman. Now it hits home. All of the names mentioned above, and many of the offspring of sportspersons in all disciplines, share a common feature: great expectations.

It is not uncommon to see sons and daughters unable to live up to the 'hype' of their parents' great successes because, quite frankly, the bar has been set impossibly high. It isn't a failure on anyone's part; in fact, it's confirmation of how special the parents are, and how much of a mix of circumstances, talents, events, and other effects it takes for someone to become a professional sportsperson, much less a legend.

Despite the rarity, though, a 16-year-old dynamic talent is emerging from Unity, Mahaica in Guyana to buck the trend: Tagenarine Chanderpaul. "Brandon", as he's known, is set to make his first-class debut, about 22 years after the similar debut of his father, the illustrious Shivnarine. It will be a rare sight to see the son of an active international cricketer make his debut, and it will be surreal if the father and son bat together at some point during the domestic season.

Shivnarine invokes great pride in his native land thanks to his years of achievement - thousands of runs, too many desperate battles to save the team, and determination in the face of challenges. Followers of West Indies cricket have already begun to come to terms with Shiv's career being close to an end (though he probably has a few more runs left in him), so the emergence of Tage is like a lifeline. It's as if the tiger's career is starting all over again thanks to the cub. Inasmuch as the son will be unable to escape comparisons, there are differences of note between the two. Junior is apparently more aggressive than Senior and, having almost complete ambidexterity, plays reverse-sweeps and switch-hits much more naturally. Shiv, with all his experience, can impart knowledge much faster to his protégé, making him much wiser than he himself might have been at the age of 16.

Tage is entering a cricketing universe where T20s are the sun and Tests are more like fleeting asteroids. His mindset might diverge quite a lot from the traditional and defensively-inclined Dad. Though the differences will be there, the similarities are also telling. Tage has apparently been under the strict tutelage of his grandfather, who clearly knows how to groom a world-class cricketer. There is also a distinctly dogged determination to 'not give my wicket away' in the young man's batting, and a hunger for runs and more runs. Despite the two decades of separation, the Chanderpaul DNA seems to be in full effect. As well-wishers, it is important to take a step back and realise what's about to happen, and how we all need to behave. Shiv's story was not always smooth - he had a long and hard toil before his first hundred, struggled with fitness issues, dealt with controversies, and had to endure the growing pains that come with starting an international cricket career at 19 years of age. Tage is a mere 16 years old. His game is not yet polished, and while he is certainly good, he has much more room to improve.

The messages to Tagenarine from supporters and skeptics alike must be one of patience, understanding and encouragement. While it is true that many children cannot, by sheer weight of history, emulate what their parents have done, we in the West Indies might just have the chance to see a chip off of the old block - but we must be careful and considerate. Tagenarine Chanderpaul has all the natural tools and guidance necessary, and no one should burden him with the weight of great expectations. Fans need to take a page out of Papa Shiv's book and be steady and watchful - soon enough the runs will flow and Tagenarine could well begin to build his own legacy. And we'll all be watching with pride.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • testli5504537 on February 10, 2013, 12:01 GMT

    I would love to watch Dad and son batting together.. This would be a treat to watch..

  • testli5504537 on February 10, 2013, 3:36 GMT

    heard from good source this kid is very well-mannered and respectful and a very good listener.these are the tools that will take him very far. throw the old man in his corner and this boy will be a success god willing. wish him all the best.

  • testli5504537 on February 9, 2013, 23:48 GMT

    I am certain the offspring will do well.I have not seen him in action, but from what I have read I am quite sure the kid will do good. Good article Roger.

  • testli5504537 on February 9, 2013, 18:45 GMT

    If the world get to watch Shivnarine and his son Tagnarine bat together in a Test match will surely bring Test Cricket to its Highest Level. Go Tage GO!

  • testli5504537 on February 9, 2013, 15:51 GMT

    Well written article. I have no doubt that Brandon will blaze his own trail in cementing his cricketing career, if professional cricket is his ultimate career goal. Already he is distinguishing himself from his dad, by showcasing his own style and approach to the game. His focus should be on enhancing his skills and establishing his own style, while learning as much from his dad about the pressures of surviving in the world of cricket, on and off the field. There's a lot the Tiger can teach the young cub about the sport, and ithas very little to do with lifting a bat.

    I hope the author does an interview with the younger Chanderpaul in the very near future, and get the young man's perspective on what he hopes to accomplish as Tagenarine Chanderpaul, and not the son of a now cricketing legend - Shivnqrine Chqnderpaul.

  • testli5504537 on February 9, 2013, 4:01 GMT

    Superb article and best wishes for a successful career especially in test cricket. Hope he makes hundred on test debut.

  • testli5504537 on February 9, 2013, 2:18 GMT

    There are many sons of international players that take to the game with proficiency. One often hears warnings of not over-burdening them with expectations and yet it is exactly those sorts of expectations which give them the opportunity to follow in their fathers' footsteps. The family connection opens doors that others may find entirely closed. Thus, I don't agree with the idea that in any way they must have a harder time of it. Indeed, many seem to fail because they have it too easy for too long. The ones that succeed are those who can fully stand on their own two feet and who can handle the responsibility of selections solely on merit that tend to come with the First Class system. This is not to criticise young Chanderpaul in any way, but rather to say that the best way for a son-of-someone to succeed is to simply be himself, not a replication of his father nor a rectification of his father's faults.

  • testli5504537 on February 8, 2013, 20:46 GMT

    loved the article, particularly its personal tone. something a journalist would struggle to capture.

  • testli5504537 on February 8, 2013, 17:35 GMT

    Good to see another promising cricketer from the WI...a big bonus is he has good lineage. Turn again Tiger :-)

  • testli5504537 on February 8, 2013, 16:37 GMT

    This is awesome news. I was so sad that someone like Chanders wouldnt be around anymore, but this article has given me hope.

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