July 8, 2011

Chanderpaul's need for speed

West Indies' most capped player remains an asset, but his slow approach has hurt his cause in the last couple of years
27

For a while now, Shivnarine Chanderpaul has been the mainstay of West Indian batting, but stats from the last couple of years indicate his immense powers have dipped a little. There could be several reasons for this: Chanderpaul is barely a month away from turning 37, and has already completed 17 years in Test cricket - obviously no player can be at the top of his game indefinitely. Then, there's the not-so-insignificant issue of his relationship with the West Indies board, which has perhaps been a distraction. Whatever be the reasons, the stats show that since the beginning of 2009 Chanderpaul has been a lesser batting force compared to what he was during the seven-year period between 2002 and 2008. (Click here for Chanderpaul's career batting summary.)

A break-up of Chanderpaul's Test career reveals the drop in his numbers. In his first seven-and-a-half years he had only scored two hundreds from 49 Tests, but then came his peak period, which started with an outstanding home series against India in 2002: in seven innings he struck three centuries and as many fifties, finishing with a series average of 140.50. It remains his third-highest series average, and it kickstarted an outstanding period during which he struck 18 centuries in 65 matches, a huge contrast to two in his previous 49.

Defence has always been the cornerstone of his batting, but during this period his strike rate pushed up towards the mid-40s, and played a couple of innings in the 2003 home series against Australia which went completely against the stereotype: in the first Test in Guyana he slammed 100 off 72 balls after coming in at 47 for 4, and in the last match in Antigua his 104 off 154 helped West Indies chase down a record target of 418. Apart from being solid and dependable, Chanderpaul in those days was also capable of putting bowlers on the back foot with his aggression and strokeplay.

Cut to the last two-and-a-half years, and the Chanderpaul on view has been very different - he has generally been intent on defence, which is reflected in his strike rate of less than 36 during this period. Of his 23 innings which lasted 40 or more deliveries during this period, only two were scored at a strike rate of more than 50; on the other hand there were 17 innings with strike rates of below 40.

Chanderpaul's Test career
Period Tests Runs Average Strike rate 100s/ 50s
Till Dec 2001 49 2833 39.34 40.56 2/ 22
Jan 2002 to Dec 2008 65 5370 57.74 44.78 18/ 28
Jan 2009 onwards 18 1025 41.00 35.96 2/ 5
Career 133 9245 48.65 42.27 22/ 55

In those seven peak years from 2002 to 2008, Chanderpaul's average of 57.74 was among the best in Test cricket. With a cut-off of 3000 runs, only three batsmen had a higher average, while West Indies were the only the side with two batsmen in the top five.

Since 2009, though, Chanderpaul's average of 41 is among the lowest (of batsmen with at least 1000 runs), with only five batsmen having a poorer average. Interestingly, Ricky Ponting, who led the averages table between 2002 and 2008, is in the bottom five too, with an average of 37.86 since 2009.

Top five Test batting averages between Jan 2002 and Dec 2008 (Qual: 3000 runs)
Batsman Tests Runs Average Strike rate 100s/ 50s
Ricky Ponting 75 7515 65.34 61.10 28/ 28
Mohammad Yousuf 46 4535 64.78 58.38 16/ 16
Jacques Kallis 71 6198 59.59 48.43 21/ 30
Shivnarine Chanderpaul 65 5370 57.74 44.78 18/ 28
Brian Lara 48 4732 57.01 61.75 16/ 14

Chanderpaul's average of 41 isn't bad, but it isn't good enough given his class, and it isn't good enough considering how much time he spends at the crease. In three Tests in 2011 (excluding the ongoing one in Dominica), he has already faced 561 deliveries, but his excruciatingly dismal strike rate of 29.41 means he has only scored 165 runs off those 561 balls. Except for the symmetry in the digits, there isn't much to be impressed by those stats.

Among batsmen with at least 1000 Test runs since the beginning of 2009, Chanderpaul's strike rate is the lowest, but what's even more surprising is the difference between his rate and that of Rahul Dravid, who is the next-lowest: Chanderpaul is about 20% poorer, and the only one whose rate is languishing in the mid-30s.

Batsmen with lowest strike rates in Tests since Jan 2009 (Qual: 1000 runs)
Batsman Balls faced Runs scored Average Strike rate
Shivnarine Chanderpaul 2850 1025 41.00 35.96
Rahul Dravid 3928 1766 53.51 44.95
Tharanga Paranavitana 2573 1159 36.21 45.04
Michael Hussey 3865 1816 42.23 46.98
Marcus North 2432 1171 35.48 48.14

That strike rate has hurt Chanderpaul's numbers quite a bit in these last two-and-a-half years, because he has been spending time at the crease without getting sufficient returns for it. The table below lists the balls faced per dismissal for batsmen, and Chanderpaul makes it to the tenth position on this list, even though in terms of averages he is 30th out of 35. Batsmen who play about as many deliveries per dismissal as he does have much better averages due to their superior strike rates: Hashim Amla, for example, has almost the same balls per dismissal, but averages more than 58 because his strike rate is 51.16. If Chanderpaul's scoring rate goes up to 45, which is around the rate which Dravid scores, his average will go up to 51 if he maintains this rate of balls per dismissal. In today's cricket, a rate of 45 runs per 100 balls can easily be achieved playing risk-free cricket; by taking defensive batting to an extreme, Chanderpaul is hurting both his team's and his personal cause.

Most balls faced per dismissal in Tests since Jan 2009
Batsman Balls faced Runs scored Average Strike rate Balls per dismissal
Sachin Tendulkar 4168 2263 78.03 54.29 143.72
Jacques Kallis 3809 2000 74.07 52.50 141.07
Thilan Samaraweera 3396 1893 75.72 55.74 135.84
Jonathan Trott 3830 1867 62.23 48.74 127.67
VVS Laxman 3221 1641 63.11 50.94 123.88
Rahul Dravid 3928 1766 53.51 44.95 119.03
Ian Bell 2856 1551 64.62 54.30 119.00
AB de Villiers 2905 1607 64.28 55.31 116.20
Hashim Amla 3311 1694 58.41 51.16 114.17
Shivnarine Chanderpaul 2850 1025 41.00 35.96 114.00

Despite this slight blip in the last couple of years, Chanderpaul's overall stats remain outstanding: he is the second-highest run-getter in Tests for West Indies, and their fourth-highest centurion. He has been a pillar of strength at Nos.5 and 6, holding the middle order together and getting important runs with the tail as well - his 6809 runs at those two slots is next only to Steve Waugh's 9919 in all of Test cricket. He is already West Indies' most capped cricketer, but as a new generation of batsmen seek to make a mark in the team, Chanderpaul's presence could be an immense guiding force. And if just ups his scoring tempo a bit, it'll suit West Indies even more.

All stats updated till before the start of the third Test between West Indies and India.

S Rajesh is stats editor of Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on July 11, 2011, 16:36 GMT

    I wonder what would've happened if Shiv made this last hundred in 75 balls? The Waste Indies would've certainly lost this match.

  • Poontz on July 10, 2011, 10:44 GMT

    IF HE GOES AT NUMBER 3,HE WILL NOT GET OUT BECAUSE WHEN HE IS BATTING AT NO. 5 OR 6, OTHERS GET OUT.

  • on July 9, 2011, 21:53 GMT

    i support chandi alot,but he needs to take a months break relax his mind alittle,then come back with the flre the whole world knows about.i want him to strt finding the gps again.he used to be great to watch but now he mkes u sleep.chandi uve been a gret player and i would like to see that once more before uretiremy bro.lets worktogether and support our pklayersin the westindies team.

  • CricketChat on July 9, 2011, 13:47 GMT

    Chanderpaul looks definitely past his best. His struggles at the crease are painful to watch. He is already out of plans for shorter formats. Great fighter that he was, it would be sad to see him getting dropped and dumped out int. cricket. He should retire gracefully at the end of WI-Ind tour.

  • on July 9, 2011, 12:48 GMT

    another interesting stat about chanderpaul.. he has the fourth fastest test century... he knows how to play quick.. but has limited his stroke play too much...

  • anurag4u10 on July 9, 2011, 8:40 GMT

    i remember some of d chandrapaul's odi innings in which he scored runs bt wi lost. dere were 2 back 2 back mtchs against india one in which chandu carried his bat wd 149 n.o. chasing 339 wi lost by 14 runs chandu played well bt culd nt accelerate at all. in d nxt mtch he made 66 and fell as d lst wkt while chsing 190 odd runs wi lost by 20 runs. in 2008 in a mtch against aus, wi were in commandin position and chandu was on crease at dat point ma frnd said dat wi will win easily bt i casually replied nt necessary chandu is still dere nd to everybdys surprise wi lost 4m nowhereby 1 run

  • on July 9, 2011, 8:13 GMT

    he needs to up the scoring rate to nearer 55-60, he is a good enough player to do play that way, i have seen him take attacks apart in ODI's (remember aus v wi DLF cup a few years back) . He is leaving FAR FAR TOO MANY BALLS , most of those wide balls are free hits, yet he is leaving them... also he is getting bogged down by spinners so much, maybe he cud move up the order to play more quick bowling, tho id have darren bravo at 3. that means either opening or number 4 for chanders. He's a good player and as long as WI selectors have patience it wont be long be4 he churning out hundreds again

  • wifan69 on July 9, 2011, 1:41 GMT

    everyone thats against shiv batting...u should consider the fact that the west indies team isn't wat it was in the pass yrs... he is under pressure from the board to perform....that the board is telling him how to bat and by the time he comes in to bat most of the main batsmen are out...we all have a right to comment but some of u should think the make ur stupid statements...

  • on July 9, 2011, 0:22 GMT

    when your batting line up is changed due to inferior captaincy and management as well as poor board support, you relaise you have to fight even harder. While he is not scoring fast, put in his position with a top 6 batting line up of Barath, Powell, Edwards, Bravo Dn, Samuels wouldnt you bat to hold them up? Gayle, Deonaraine, Nash, Sarwan, Brave (Dw), all should be there? But why not? The culling of test class players is stupid and mindless. Please talk about what WI can do to remove the whole management setup and bring back players who can make a difference. The team has yest to pass 300, and it is ridiulos. given the class and depth...

  • ranpath on July 8, 2011, 20:21 GMT

    Yes he has been a good servant of Wi cricket over the years. But maybe it is time for him to bow out gracefully rather than perform poorly and be kicked out... which would be embarassing. That said, in this match Wi had an opening quartet ( Batsmen 1 - 4 ) that was totally inexperienced ( two have played less than 10 tests each and two were debutantes !!!) This should not have happened...AT least one of the more experienced players --- Chanderpaul, Samuels, or even Baugh -- should have been promoted to break up this quartet. If i was team management i would have INSISTED that Chanders open or either he or Samuels bat at three !!!!

  • on July 11, 2011, 16:36 GMT

    I wonder what would've happened if Shiv made this last hundred in 75 balls? The Waste Indies would've certainly lost this match.

  • Poontz on July 10, 2011, 10:44 GMT

    IF HE GOES AT NUMBER 3,HE WILL NOT GET OUT BECAUSE WHEN HE IS BATTING AT NO. 5 OR 6, OTHERS GET OUT.

  • on July 9, 2011, 21:53 GMT

    i support chandi alot,but he needs to take a months break relax his mind alittle,then come back with the flre the whole world knows about.i want him to strt finding the gps again.he used to be great to watch but now he mkes u sleep.chandi uve been a gret player and i would like to see that once more before uretiremy bro.lets worktogether and support our pklayersin the westindies team.

  • CricketChat on July 9, 2011, 13:47 GMT

    Chanderpaul looks definitely past his best. His struggles at the crease are painful to watch. He is already out of plans for shorter formats. Great fighter that he was, it would be sad to see him getting dropped and dumped out int. cricket. He should retire gracefully at the end of WI-Ind tour.

  • on July 9, 2011, 12:48 GMT

    another interesting stat about chanderpaul.. he has the fourth fastest test century... he knows how to play quick.. but has limited his stroke play too much...

  • anurag4u10 on July 9, 2011, 8:40 GMT

    i remember some of d chandrapaul's odi innings in which he scored runs bt wi lost. dere were 2 back 2 back mtchs against india one in which chandu carried his bat wd 149 n.o. chasing 339 wi lost by 14 runs chandu played well bt culd nt accelerate at all. in d nxt mtch he made 66 and fell as d lst wkt while chsing 190 odd runs wi lost by 20 runs. in 2008 in a mtch against aus, wi were in commandin position and chandu was on crease at dat point ma frnd said dat wi will win easily bt i casually replied nt necessary chandu is still dere nd to everybdys surprise wi lost 4m nowhereby 1 run

  • on July 9, 2011, 8:13 GMT

    he needs to up the scoring rate to nearer 55-60, he is a good enough player to do play that way, i have seen him take attacks apart in ODI's (remember aus v wi DLF cup a few years back) . He is leaving FAR FAR TOO MANY BALLS , most of those wide balls are free hits, yet he is leaving them... also he is getting bogged down by spinners so much, maybe he cud move up the order to play more quick bowling, tho id have darren bravo at 3. that means either opening or number 4 for chanders. He's a good player and as long as WI selectors have patience it wont be long be4 he churning out hundreds again

  • wifan69 on July 9, 2011, 1:41 GMT

    everyone thats against shiv batting...u should consider the fact that the west indies team isn't wat it was in the pass yrs... he is under pressure from the board to perform....that the board is telling him how to bat and by the time he comes in to bat most of the main batsmen are out...we all have a right to comment but some of u should think the make ur stupid statements...

  • on July 9, 2011, 0:22 GMT

    when your batting line up is changed due to inferior captaincy and management as well as poor board support, you relaise you have to fight even harder. While he is not scoring fast, put in his position with a top 6 batting line up of Barath, Powell, Edwards, Bravo Dn, Samuels wouldnt you bat to hold them up? Gayle, Deonaraine, Nash, Sarwan, Brave (Dw), all should be there? But why not? The culling of test class players is stupid and mindless. Please talk about what WI can do to remove the whole management setup and bring back players who can make a difference. The team has yest to pass 300, and it is ridiulos. given the class and depth...

  • ranpath on July 8, 2011, 20:21 GMT

    Yes he has been a good servant of Wi cricket over the years. But maybe it is time for him to bow out gracefully rather than perform poorly and be kicked out... which would be embarassing. That said, in this match Wi had an opening quartet ( Batsmen 1 - 4 ) that was totally inexperienced ( two have played less than 10 tests each and two were debutantes !!!) This should not have happened...AT least one of the more experienced players --- Chanderpaul, Samuels, or even Baugh -- should have been promoted to break up this quartet. If i was team management i would have INSISTED that Chanders open or either he or Samuels bat at three !!!!

  • drtrinileggie on July 8, 2011, 19:30 GMT

    Batting too slowly!!!!! when you are 35-5 what do you expect. Chanders you ARE SUPERB!!!!

    SELECTORS AND WICB ARE PATHETIC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • ramsharat on July 8, 2011, 16:38 GMT

    West Indies r doing a big mistake. Chanderpaul has to bat higher up the order. he is currently batting at 5 or 6 which is useless because we r seeing that by the time he comes to the crease WI r loosing 3 or 4 wickets cheaply. thats why he has become defensive and SR has gone done considerably!!!

  • Navin84 on July 8, 2011, 13:05 GMT

    Chanderpaul needs to bat at no. 3, you can't put 4 batsmen b4 him who has played only a few matches. With his experience, the mere presence of him at the crease the other batsmen will feel more comfortable, seeing that Gayle, Sarwan and Nash are not in. When he comes in at no. 5 with the score less than 100 he doesn't have much time to score runs because the other batsmen below him are not capable of winning matches so he would be left stranded on 70+ not out, but if he comes at 3 he can make a 130+ and play more freely. I also feels that he should be back in the ODI squad so he can get to play faster innings, other than the tests now, he is not playing anymore cricket and that has affected him.

  • on July 8, 2011, 12:30 GMT

    Chanderpaul needs to play more domestic cricket to stay on top of his game,a batting machine is too predictable..Apart from the inept WI cricket board living in Miami away from competitive cricket has done him no good..the same can be said for Sarwan also..

  • delboy on July 8, 2011, 12:04 GMT

    Continued.. I do not care too much about Chander's stance it has been effective; if he is been found wanting then he alone can find a way to resolve that. I do however; unlike most appreciate the phrase 'SLOW BUT SURE!'. I would open with Barath and Chanders with Gayle 3,K. Edwards/Sarwan 4, Da Bravo, Samuels, Dw Bravo, Powell/Russell, Fidel, Roach, Bishoo. If Dw Bravo is not avaiable then I would include Simmons over Sammy in a test squad. Captain Dw Bravo or Samuels.

  • delboy on July 8, 2011, 11:56 GMT

    You would think the experts armed with statistic an money to pay someone to extrapulate it would realize that Chanders would best be elivated to opening the innings, with the aim to support an inexperinced partner, wear down the opening attack and allow the revolving door of openers to gain experience in the middle order rather than leaving him at 5/6 yet when he arrives at the wicket he is caught between a rock and a hard place whether to get quick runs or try to ensure the gain last more than two days.

  • Silva-Surfa on July 8, 2011, 11:52 GMT

    I haven't got a problem in the way that Chanderpaul bats, but ideally i'd like him to rotate the strike a little more and be more ruthless, when it comes to any bad deliveries. But his current form is the type of method that is a throwback to Boycott and Tavare, where they would block and leave all day long, just to break the will of the opposition bowlers. Dravid and Kallis have a simular role for their respected countries, but do it at a better strike rate. The frustrating thing is Chanderpaul can be more aggressive if he wants to. I remember him scoring one of the fastest centuries against Australia in Guyana, back in 2003 i think, as well as his stint to open in ODIs with Chris Gayle, a few years back. As Ajit has mentioned, maybe put him at number 3 in test matches, so his role to bat the innings and let the others play around him.

  • Baundele on July 8, 2011, 11:46 GMT

    Chanderpaul's contribution is quite underrated. The stats in this article makes me more respectful to him. WI is the weakest test team at the moment (Bangladesh white-washed a similar-strength side) and they have been like this for the past two years. Chander batting at #5 with score at 30/3 does not have many options of scoring like Sehwag against stronger opposition. With WICB looking for every opportunity to dump him, he is showing immense character to contribute to the team's need of stabilizing the slide.

  • amar17 on July 8, 2011, 10:23 GMT

    When Chanderpaul is at the crease, i change the channel!

  • dilanz51 on July 8, 2011, 10:17 GMT

    The two boring batsmen of all time goes to Dravid and Chanderapaul. Whenever they come on to bat I switch off the TV.Test cricket is alive because of people like Shewag and Dilshan who score their runs quickly.

  • sifter132 on July 8, 2011, 10:16 GMT

    "by taking defensive batting to an extreme, Chanderpaul is hurting both his team's and his personal cause" Is he?? What you must also look at is how many runs are scored in TOTAL when Chanderpaul is at the wicket to see how he is affecting his team. A guy like Sehwag can average 55, but his team might only score 85 while he's at the crease because of his strike rate. Chandperpaul could average 40, but his team might score 100 while he's there. That isn't damaging the team, it's stabilising it. High strike rates are sexy, but there as Sehwag's 2nd innings record shows, Test cricket is more than just blasting a score quickly in the 1st dig, sometimes matches need to be saved and crease occupation is not a skill to be looked down on.

  • VENKATASAIPRAVEEN on July 8, 2011, 10:12 GMT

    Chanderpaul is playing too slowly and is hurting his team's chances. The main purpose of a batsman is to score runs. chanderpaul is not doing that. There is no point in staying at the crease for a long time with out scoring enough runs. After all, it is the number of runs scored that matter and not the number of balls faced...

  • nickydude on July 8, 2011, 8:04 GMT

    When Chanderpaul is at the crease, a bowler has a secret sigh of relief, even though it is difficult to dislodge him, since bowler knows, he will not score in any situations even after playing for ages.. Please tell Chanders, all that stance, technique is useless, if he cannot acclerate even after certain time.

  • nickydude on July 8, 2011, 8:00 GMT

    Well, to add more, this is not new for Chanderpaul, this has been going on quite frequently before it as well. Look at the POS test in 2002, which India won by 37 runs, he was the prime culprit, who remained not out on 67, on paper & many other matches as well..

  • mrgupta on July 8, 2011, 7:12 GMT

    One Funny thing to notice, the first few lines of the article says "obviously no player can be at the top of his game indefinitely", well the person at the top of list of highest Avg since 2009 is a 38 year old and has been at the top of his game since last 22 years :-)

  • AjitNarayan on July 8, 2011, 7:09 GMT

    I don't at all mind Chanderpaul's approach. He needs to come in at number 3, where supposedly the "best" batsman in the team plays, and Chanders is by far the best batsman in the team. By the time Chanders comes in, the score is already something like 75/3, and is already under pressure. He can play the anchor role like Dravid, but there's nothing to anchor when you come in three down.

  • darkknight123 on July 8, 2011, 4:24 GMT

    Forgive me if I am wrong, but I believe that VVS Laxman's Balls per Dismissal number in the last column is incorrect. It seems impossible that he would have an average of 63.11 if he was only facing 4 overs at the crease! I think you meant 123.88, not 23.88.

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  • darkknight123 on July 8, 2011, 4:24 GMT

    Forgive me if I am wrong, but I believe that VVS Laxman's Balls per Dismissal number in the last column is incorrect. It seems impossible that he would have an average of 63.11 if he was only facing 4 overs at the crease! I think you meant 123.88, not 23.88.

  • AjitNarayan on July 8, 2011, 7:09 GMT

    I don't at all mind Chanderpaul's approach. He needs to come in at number 3, where supposedly the "best" batsman in the team plays, and Chanders is by far the best batsman in the team. By the time Chanders comes in, the score is already something like 75/3, and is already under pressure. He can play the anchor role like Dravid, but there's nothing to anchor when you come in three down.

  • mrgupta on July 8, 2011, 7:12 GMT

    One Funny thing to notice, the first few lines of the article says "obviously no player can be at the top of his game indefinitely", well the person at the top of list of highest Avg since 2009 is a 38 year old and has been at the top of his game since last 22 years :-)

  • nickydude on July 8, 2011, 8:00 GMT

    Well, to add more, this is not new for Chanderpaul, this has been going on quite frequently before it as well. Look at the POS test in 2002, which India won by 37 runs, he was the prime culprit, who remained not out on 67, on paper & many other matches as well..

  • nickydude on July 8, 2011, 8:04 GMT

    When Chanderpaul is at the crease, a bowler has a secret sigh of relief, even though it is difficult to dislodge him, since bowler knows, he will not score in any situations even after playing for ages.. Please tell Chanders, all that stance, technique is useless, if he cannot acclerate even after certain time.

  • VENKATASAIPRAVEEN on July 8, 2011, 10:12 GMT

    Chanderpaul is playing too slowly and is hurting his team's chances. The main purpose of a batsman is to score runs. chanderpaul is not doing that. There is no point in staying at the crease for a long time with out scoring enough runs. After all, it is the number of runs scored that matter and not the number of balls faced...

  • sifter132 on July 8, 2011, 10:16 GMT

    "by taking defensive batting to an extreme, Chanderpaul is hurting both his team's and his personal cause" Is he?? What you must also look at is how many runs are scored in TOTAL when Chanderpaul is at the wicket to see how he is affecting his team. A guy like Sehwag can average 55, but his team might only score 85 while he's at the crease because of his strike rate. Chandperpaul could average 40, but his team might score 100 while he's there. That isn't damaging the team, it's stabilising it. High strike rates are sexy, but there as Sehwag's 2nd innings record shows, Test cricket is more than just blasting a score quickly in the 1st dig, sometimes matches need to be saved and crease occupation is not a skill to be looked down on.

  • dilanz51 on July 8, 2011, 10:17 GMT

    The two boring batsmen of all time goes to Dravid and Chanderapaul. Whenever they come on to bat I switch off the TV.Test cricket is alive because of people like Shewag and Dilshan who score their runs quickly.

  • amar17 on July 8, 2011, 10:23 GMT

    When Chanderpaul is at the crease, i change the channel!

  • Baundele on July 8, 2011, 11:46 GMT

    Chanderpaul's contribution is quite underrated. The stats in this article makes me more respectful to him. WI is the weakest test team at the moment (Bangladesh white-washed a similar-strength side) and they have been like this for the past two years. Chander batting at #5 with score at 30/3 does not have many options of scoring like Sehwag against stronger opposition. With WICB looking for every opportunity to dump him, he is showing immense character to contribute to the team's need of stabilizing the slide.