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With Sachin Tendulkar's retirement, Shivnarine Chanderpaul has become the most experienced Test cricketer in the world, and West Indies will need his knowledge and ability to save the first Test
December 5, 2013
Shivnarine Chanderpaul has taken on one of the many records Sachin Tendulkar has left behind in retirement: he is now the longest-serving, active Test cricketer.
His debut came on March 17, 1994 against England, in his homeland Guyana, as part of a West Indies side that were still top of the tree. The batting including Brian Lara, Jimmy Adams, Richie Richardson and Desmond Haynes; the bowling was usually Curtly Ambrose, Courtney Walsh, Kenny and Winston Benjamin.
Times are very different now. There was a familiarity with the score when he strode in at University Oval - 70 for 3 is about average, these days, for Chanderpaul's arrival at the crease. He just goes about his business as he has done for nearly 20 years.
With a pull off Neil Wagner, he became the seventh Test batsman, and second West Indian after Lara, to pass 11,000 runs. There was a handshake with Denesh Ramdin and a gentle raise of the bat to the dressing room, before he returned to the crease (side on, of course) to resume trying to haul West Indies out of another hole.
"His record speaks for himself. He's a world-class player and has been for a number of years," Tim Southee said. "Obviously he has a different stance and technique to what you're used to. It's not a traditional technique and set-up and it takes a little bit to adjust to. Hopefully we can grab him tomorrow some stage. We know you've got to fight hard for his wicket, he doesn't give it away, and it's going to take something special to get him out."
Thankfully, from West Indies' point of view, Chanderpaul was not the only one to show some gumption. In the second innings, Kirk Edwards bounced back from his first-innings duck with a determined half-century and Darren Bravo, who had played nicely first time around before a loose drive on 40, glided to the close on an unbeaten 72.
Chanderpaul is a man of few words, but the younger West Indies batsmen believe they can benefit by just watching. "For the short time I've played, he's a professional guy. He just comes out and does his stuff every day," Edwards said. "For a young guy, he's more someone you have to watch and learn. He doesn't talk much. But just watching him do his stuff is something you can learn from. His consistency is great. We as young players have to learn."
Still, though, if West Indies have any chance of putting pressure on New Zealand over the next two days it will come down to one man, and that's Shiv.
Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfoFeeds: Andrew McGlashan
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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