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Older, fitter, stronger, better

Shivnarine Chanderpaul is 39, but over the last few years he has racked up some unbelievable numbers

S Rajesh

November 15, 2013

Comments: 22 | Text size: A | A

Shivnarine Chanderpaul scored an unbeaten century on the third day, Bangladesh v West Indies, 2nd Test, Khulna, 3rd day, November 23, 2012
Since Brian Lara's retirement, Shivnarine Chanderpaul has averaged 70.52 in 48 Tests, and has scored 14 centuries, as many as he scored in 101 Tests before that © Associated Press
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Players/Officials: Shivnarine Chanderpaul
Series/Tournaments: West Indies tour of India
Teams: West Indies

All the stats exclude numbers from Chanderpaul's 150th Test, in Mumbai between India and West Indies.

While things have crumbled all around him in West Indies cricket, Shivnarine Chanderpaul has managed to not only maintain his standards but also raised the bar consistently throughout a career that has already lasted almost 20 years and shows no sign of ending. The Mumbai Test is his 150th, which puts him in a select group of seven who've played that many Tests.

Chanderpaul made his Test debut in March 1994, which means his Test career is nearly 20 years old; even by the Sachin Tendulkar yardstick, that's an impressive timespan of top-class cricket. The fact that West Indies play fewer Tests than other top teams means he has had to play longer to reach the landmark: Ricky Ponting played 168 Tests in a 17-year career, Allan Border played 156 in 16, while Rahul Dravid notched up 164 in 16. Chanderpaul is 39 already, but quite remarkably has been batting better than ever in the last few years, with his form and his appetite for runs showing no signs of abating.

Splitting up his 150-Test career into three parts further reveals just how prolific he has been in the last third of that period. In the first third of his career, from his debut to the end of 2001, he averaged marginally less than 40 from 49 Tests, and the most striking aspect of his career up to that point was his inability to convert fifties into hundreds. He had only two centuries, and 22 scores between 50 and 99. In fact, in his first 14 innings in Test cricket, Chanderpaul had eight scores of 50 or more, but the highest among them was 82. By the time he scored his first Test century - 137 not out against India, an opponent he's had plenty of success against throughout his career - he had already racked up 13 fifties from 29 innings. The second hundred came reasonably quickly, but only two centuries in 49 Tests was rather poor returns for a specialist batsman, and the period between 1998 and 2001 was quite a struggle, as he averaged 31.43 from 25 matches.

In 2002, though, he ended the rut quite emphatically, and hasn't really looked back since. It helped also that West Indies played eight Tests against India, his favourite opponents, in 2002: Chanderpaul made full use of that opportunity and amassed four centuries in those eight Tests, thus also dispelling the notion that he couldn't bat long periods and make big scores. In those five years between 2002 and 2006, he scored 12 centuries from 52 matches and averaged almost 50.

Since then, he has been absolutely unstoppable. From the beginning of 2007, which also coincided with Brian Lara's retirement, Chanderpaul has averaged a staggering 70.52 from 48 matches (excluding his 150th Test). No other batsman has come close to those numbers during this period.

Chanderpaul's Test career, in three parts
Period Tests Runs Average Strike rate 100s/ 50s
Till 2001 49 2833 39.34 40.56 2/ 22
2002 to 2006 52 3903 49.40 45.12 12/ 18
2007 onwards 48 4161 70.52 42.79 14/ 21
Career 149 10,897 51.89 42.97 28/ 61

Chanderpaul's batting position has been a topic of plenty of debate through most of his career - especially in the recent years, given that he is by far West Indies' best batsman - but there's no doubt that the No. 5 and 6 slots have suited him much more than batting higher up the order. When batting at Nos. 3 and 4 he averages only 34, though it's also true that many of those innings were played in the early part of his career. Batting at Nos. 5 and 6, his average shoots up to 60.

Chanderpaul at different batting positions
Position Innings Runs Average Strike rate 100s/ 50s
No. 3 29 925 34.25 41.47 1/ 6
No. 4 41 1208 34.51 38.14 2/ 7
No. 5 127 6026 57.94 43.90 17/ 30
No. 6 47 2440 65.94 43.68 7/ 16

Only Steve Waugh has scored more runs than Chanderpaul at Nos. 5 and 6. Waugh scored 9919 runs in these two positions, at an average of 54.50. However, given the strong Australian batting line-up when he was around, his role was often to consolidate an already healthy position; Chanderpaul's staple role, on the other hand, has been to resurrect a wobbly innings, often with little support at the other end.

Most runs at No. 5 and No. 6 in Tests
Batsman Innings Runs Average 100s/ 50s
Steve Waugh 221 9919 54.50 30/ 45
Shivnarine Chanderpaul 174 8466 60.04 24/ 46
Michael Clarke 123 6658 61.64 23/ 23
VVS Laxman 141 5637 48.59 11/ 37
Allan Border 133 5627 52.10 15/ 32
Mohammad Azharuddin 126 5340 45.25 19/ 17
Sourav Ganguly 146 5165 38.54 10/ 29
Clive Lloyd 119 5163 47.36 14/ 27
AB de Villiers 99 4999 58.81 14/ 24
Arjuna Ranatunga 136 4572 36.00 4/ 33
Garry Sobers 94 4509 55.66 15/ 19

In the 48 Tests he has played after Lara's retirement, Chanderpaul has averaged 70.52, scoring 14 hundreds, which is as many as he scored in 101 Tests before this period.

Since the beginning of 2007, no batsman has averaged as much as Chanderpaul has. The next-best is Kumar Sangakkara at 64.54, while Hashim Amla's 57.61 is third. Admittedly, 21 not-outs has contributed to that extraordinarily high average, but even after excluding those not-outs, Chanderpaul has still scored 52 runs per innings. (Click here for the full list of batsmen who've scored at least 2000 runs during this period.)

Chanderpaul, during and after Lara
  Tests Runs Average Strike rate 100s/ 50s
When Lara was around 101 6736 44.60 43.08 14/ 40
After Lara's retirement 48 4161 70.52 42.79 14/ 21

While Chanderpaul has averaged 70 since Lara's retirement, the rest of the West Indian top order has been consistently disappointing during this period: they've averaged 31.77, which is less than half the average that Chanderpaul has maintained. Chanderpaul has averaged a century every 5.7 innings during this period; the other West Indian top-order batsmen have averaged a hundred every 17.3 innings.

Chanderpaul v other WI batsmen since Lara's retirement
  Innings Runs Average Strike rate 100s/ 50s Balls/ dismissal
Shivnarine Chanderpaul 80 4161 70.52 42.79 14/ 21 164.81
Others in the top 7 590 17,889 31.77 49.62 34/ 88 64.04

The aspect that stands out about Chanderpaul's batting is the price he puts on his wicket, and the length of time he bats almost every time. The scoring rate rarely bothers him, and neither do the fall of wickets at the other end. Since the year of his Test debut, the only batsman who has faced more deliveries per dismissal (with a minimum of 6000 balls faced) is Dravid - he averaged 123.06 balls per dismissal, while Chanderpaul is marginally behind at 120.75 balls per dismissal. Jacques Kallis is the other batsman in the 120-ball club.

Most balls per dismissal in Tests since 1994 (Qual: 6000 balls faced)
Batsman Tests Runs Average Strike rate Balls/dismissal
Rahul Dravid 164 13,288 52.31 42.51 123.06
Shivnarine Chanderpaul 149 10,897 51.89 42.97 120.75
Jacques Kallis 164 13,140 55.44 46.02 120.46
Mark Richardson 38 2776 44.77 37.66 118.87
Steve Waugh 107 7792 56.05 48.88 114.67
Andy Flower 56 4295 51.13 45.67 111.95
Misbah-ul-Haq 43 2854 46.03 41.20 111.73
Hashan Tillakaratne 63 3578 44.72 40.89 109.36
Jimmy Adams 50 2774 40.20 36.88 109.00
Kumar Sangakkara 117 10,486 56.98 53.97 105.59

Since 2007, though, Chanderpaul is in a league of his own, with an average of almost 165 balls per dismissal. No other batsman comes close: the next-best, Misbah-ul-Haq, is 41 deliveries lower.

Most balls per dismissal in Tests since Jan 2007 (Qual: 3000 balls faced)
Batsman Tests Runs Average Strike rate Balls/dismissal
Shivnarine Chanderpaul 48 4161 70.52 42.79 164.81
Misbah-ul-Haq 38 2734 51.58 41.73 123.60
Kumar Sangakkara 53 5422 64.54 53.29 121.11
Younis Khan 36 3049 55.43 49.82 111.25
Hashim Amla 62 5531 57.61 52.93 108.84
Jacques Kallis 61 5068 55.69 52.20 106.68

Chanderpaul's stats are consistent in most aspects: he averages more than 40 in all countries where he has played at least five Tests except Pakistan and Australia. The one country he has consistently struggled in is Australia: in 21 Test innings he has a highest of 82, and an average of 30.20. In Pakistan he averages 32.54, but he hasn't played there since 2006.

His consistency also extends to his stats against different types of bowling. As the table below shows, he averages between 57 and 68 against the different bowling types. No bowler has dismissed him more than seven times; Anil Kumble has got him out most often with seven, while Kallis, Angus Fraser and Danish Kaneria have dismissed him six times each.

Chanderpaul versus different bowling types in Tests since Jan 2002
Bowling type Dismissals Average Run rate
Right-arm pace 65 58.55 2.61
Right-arm spin 40 57.17 2.63
Left-arm pace 12 58.00 2.49
Left-arm spin 18 68.11 2.85

And finally, Chanderpaul has scored 2321 Test runs since the age of 35, at an average of 64.47, which is the highest average by any batsman who has scored at least 2000 runs since turning 35. Several batsmen average in the 50s after the age of 35, but Chanderpaul stands alone with a 60-plus average. (Sachin Tendulkar's average after 35 is 49.57 from 52 Tests.) Clearly, Chanderpaul is still at the top of his game, and is likely to stay there for some time yet.

Highest batting averages for batsmen beyond the age of 35 (Qual: 2000 runs after 35)
Batsman Tests Runs Average 100s/ 50s
Shivnarine Chanderpaul 28 2321 64.47 7/ 9
Jacques Kallis 24 2014 57.54 9/ 5
Jack Hobbs 33 2945 56.63 10/ 12
Len Hutton 26 2105 53.97 6/ 10
Steve Waugh 40 2554 53.20 10/ 8
Patsy Hendren 44 3189 53.15 7/ 18
Zaheer Abbas 32 2039 52.28 5/ 9
Clive Lloyd 45 2921 52.16 8/ 17
Tom Graveney 30 2195 51.04 7/ 8
Brian Lara 25 2296 51.02 9/ 5

S Rajesh is stats editor of ESPNcricinfo. Follow him on Twitter

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Posted by shattar on (November 19, 2013, 21:19 GMT)

shiv is by far the best cricketer not just batsman that the west indies have produced in the last 40 years his stats shows it his commitment his value of his wicket is unheard of for any of west indies cricketers in this same period, even the "great" lara has a lot to be ashamed of when these same character traits are taken in to consideration lara absolutely did nothing good for west indies cricket when he was around our cricket was at an all time low even whwn he was #1 wi was not even playing competitive cricket all that changed when he left which was the only good thing he did hats off the shiv though keep up ur good work

Posted by Ncnotorious on (November 19, 2013, 8:28 GMT)

Most underrated Test batsman in cricket!!! Hope WICB learnt a few things about how to send off their players when they retire. God knows that Chanders deserves every bit of it as he has single-handedly carried West Indies' batting on those small shoulders ever since Lara retired (Lara didnt get a proper send off either).

Posted by   on (November 17, 2013, 14:36 GMT)

Unfortunately the most underrated cricketer in world cricket!!Amazing numbers especially since Lara's retirement........Keep going Tiger, God knows West Indies need every run from your bat!

Posted by   on (November 16, 2013, 22:49 GMT)

If people are just can't get over the not out think, everyone in middle order has more or less similar opportunity to stay not out (or play more, if lower order is strong). Chanders tops those averages, even if you limit them to top bowling sides in test {SA, Aus, Pak, Eng}.

http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/stats/index.html?batting_positionmax2=7;batting_positionmin1=5;batting_positionmin2=4;batting_positionval1=batting_position;batting_positionval2=batting_position;class=1;filter=advanced;opposition=1;opposition=2;opposition=3;opposition=7;orderby=batting_average;qualmin1=10;qualval1=matches;spanmax1=16+Nov+2013;spanmin1=16+Nov+2003;spanval1=span;team=1;team=140;team=2;team=25;team=3;team=4;team=5;team=6;team=7;team=8;team=9;type=batting

Posted by   on (November 16, 2013, 21:59 GMT)

Since 2002, Chanders averages better against test teams ranked higher than WI (SA, Eng, Aug, Ind, Pak)@61 than others (Nz, SL, Zim, BD)@52.

If he did well in a specific series against weaker teams, it resulted in victory of WI - in large part due to him.

If his not outs result in better averages - well - that also means he has defended one end when wickets were falling at other wise (and managed to score runs as well). That is probably tougher than it looks. VVS Laxman anyone ?

Posted by M_Rakibul_Islam on (November 16, 2013, 14:46 GMT)

@ S.Jagernath: Lol. Haven't Sachin, Ponting, Dravid or Kallis played against BD or Zim?

Posted by   on (November 16, 2013, 4:06 GMT)

Yes Chanders is the man. West Indies{ W I C B} should hang there head in shame, as they did not acknowledge Chanders for what he has done for cricket in the West Indies.

Posted by __PK on (November 16, 2013, 1:24 GMT)

But the innings I remember most is his 100 in 72 balls against Australia in Georgetown, 2003, coming in at 4-53, at the time the 3rd fastest hundred ever. We all saw that and thought "Where did that come from?"

Posted by Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas_Atheist on (November 15, 2013, 23:46 GMT)

Just one phrase - Under-rated Colossus! Chanders' numbers are to be dissected to be believed! What a shame that Windies board didn't do much to recognize his 150th test. Feel very sorry for him. Now that the Windies are anyway bound to lose this match, I would be very happy to see Chanders to put on a fight, score a century and have the last laugh at the Windies selectors! Would be amazing if his effort results in a draw! But for that, he needs support from his team mates. Any takers?!

Posted by   on (November 15, 2013, 21:51 GMT)

I doubt that there'd every be another batsman with that stance and technique that can pile on so many runs... In that regards, Chanderpaul alone stands out!

I wonder whether Lara's retirement had anything to do with his stats post 2007. Did he perform better because he now had the pressure of being the most senior batsman in the team? Was he less focused pre 2007 because there was another player in Lara that the team could depend on for runs? Or did his game just improved as he matured?

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S Rajesh Stats editor Every week the Numbers Game takes a look at the story behind the stats, with an original slant on facts and figures. The column is edited by S Rajesh, ESPNcricinfo's stats editor in Bangalore. He did an MBA in marketing, and then worked for a year in advertising, before deciding to chuck it in favour of a job which would combine the pleasures of watching cricket and writing about it. The intense office cricket matches were an added bonus.

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