An unsung hero for West Indies
Since Brian Lara's retirement in 2006, Shivnarine Chanderpaul has been the mainstay of West Indies' batting. Although West Indies have never quite managed to be a force in the Test arena, Chanderpaul's batting performances have enabled them to stay competitive more often than not. Even in the present series against Australia, Chanderpaul has scored over 300 runs while being dismissed just three times while the highest average among the rest of the batsmen is 34.75. While his stance and technique may not be among the most stylish, there can be little doubt about his efficiency. Nearly 18 years after he made his debut, Chanderpaul scaled the 10,000-run mark in his 140th Test. He becomes the tenth batsman overall and only the second West Indian after Lara to reach the landmark. While Chanderpaul is the second-slowest in terms of innings (239) and matches (140) to reach the 10,000-run mark (Steve Waugh took 156 matches and 244 innings), he remains the slowest in terms of time taken from the debut date.
Between 1980 and the mid-1990s, only Sunil Gavaskar (1983) and Allan Border (1993) passed the 10,000-run mark. However since the beginning of 2000, eight batsmen have scaled the mark. Lara and Sachin Tendulkar were joint-quickest to the mark in terms of innings (195) while Lara took 11 matches fewer. All ten batsmen in the elite group average over 50 with Jacques Kallis (56.78) and Tendulkar (55.44) having the highest averages. Chanderpaul has the second-lowest strike rate (42.67) and a high value of balls-per-innings (98.60). Rahul Dravid and Kallis are the only batsmen in the group to face more than hundred balls per innings on average. While Lara has the lowest not-out percentage (2.58), Waugh and Chanderpaul have the highest values (17.69 and 15.89 respectively).
All stats updated till end of play on the fourth day of the third Test in Dominica
|Batsman||Matches||Innings||Runs||Average||100/50||SR||Balls/innings||% of not-outs|
|Sachin Tendulkar *||188||311||15470||55.44||51/65||54.09||91.89||10.28|
* Balls data not available for all innings
Though Chanderpaul has proved to be an extremely consistent batsman in away Tests, it is in home matches that he has turned out to be among the finest. His average of 59.17 at home is only behind those of Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara on the list of batsmen with 5000-plus runs in home Tests. He has scored 17 centuries in home Tests, a record among West Indian batsmen which he shares with Lara. For majority of his career, Chanderpaul batted at No.5 and No.6 scoring 7636 runs. His aggregate while batting at these vital middle-order positions is second only to Steve Waugh's tally of 9919 runs. His average of 56.98 at No.5 and 6 is the second-highest behind Michael Clarke's 57.07 among batsmen with 3000-plus runs at the two positions.
Chanderpaul made his debut against England in March 1994 and was Lara's partner in Antigua when Lara went past Garry Sobers' 365. In his first few years (1994-1999), Chanderpaul did not have a great impact but was solid enough to average over 40. However, in that period, his ratio of centuries to fifties (2:18) was not impressive. Between 2000 and 2004, however, he had established himself as one of the two most important batsmen in the West Indian team along with Lara. Chanderpaul was rarely known for a quick-scoring innings but was capable of highly aggressive batting as he demonstrated during his 69-ball century against Australia, which is still the second-fastest Test hundred by a West Indian batsman.
Towards the end of Lara's career, Chanderpaul had taken over the responsibility of guiding an inexperienced batting line-up. Between 2005 and 2008, he scored over 3000 runs at superb average of 62.72 with nine centuries. Perhaps the transformation in Chanderpaul's performances can be best understood by comparing his batting stats in matches when Lara played and in those after Lara's retirement. In the 84 matches he played with Lara, Chanderpaul was content to play second fiddle and scored 5634 runs at 43.67. However, after Lara's retirement, Chanderpaul's display has been exceptional. He has scored 13 of his 25 centuries in this period while averaging an excellent 61.40.
|Matches involving Brian Lara||84||5634||43.67||12/35|
|Matches not involving Brian Lara||56||4421||61.40||13/24|
Both Lara and Chanderpaul were unfortunate to play for majority of their careers in a declining West Indian team. After dominating world cricket for almost two decades, West Indies lost their way in the late 1990s and hardly managed to win Tests against top teams in the 2000s. Following the 2-0 loss in India last year, Chanderpaul went past Lara's record of featuring in the most Test defeats. Chanderpaul has scored the second-highest number of runs in defeats (behind Lara) and has the third-best average behind Lara and Andy Flower among batsmen with 2000-plus runs in losses. However, among the top six run-getters in Test defeats, Chanderpaul has the highest percentage of career runs in losses (44.82). He has also been extremely prolific in draws - his average of 72.31 is the second-highest behind that of Kallis among batsmen with 3000-plus runs in drawn games.
|Batsman||Matches||Runs||Average||100/50||% runs in losses|
Like Lara, the only other West Indian with 10000-plus runs, Chanderpaul has a much better average in the team first innings (55.75) than in the second innings (41.64). In the match first and second innings, Lara has a higher average and more centuries than Chanderpaul. However, in the third innings, Chanderpaul averages slightly higher but has scored four fewer centuries. In the fourth innings, both batsmen have the same number of centuries (2), but Chanderpaul has a better average (43.38) than Lara (35.12). Chanderpaul is joint-highest with Graeme Smith on the list of batsmen with the most fifty-plus scores in the fourth innings.
|Innings number||Lara (Runs, avg)||Lara (100/50)||Chanderpaul (Runs, avg)||Chanderpaul (100/50)|
|1st||4000, 70.17||12/12||2877, 61.21||10/15|
|2nd||4249, 59.01||13/21||3736, 51.88||10/21|
|3rd||2264, 40.42||7/8||1967, 40.97||3/12|
|4th||1440, 35.12||2/7||1475, 43.38||2/11|
Overall, Chanderpaul has a much better home record as compared to his performances away. Against Australia, he has been extraordinary at home scoring over 1000 runs at an average of 80.38. However, in Tests in Australia, he has failed to step it up similarly. His average of 30.20 in 11 Tests in Australia is his lowest against a top Test team (excluding Zimbabwe and Bangladesh). Since 1995, he is one among only seven batsmen to score 1500-plus runs against Australia, who were the best Test team in the period. Chanderpaul's home record against all teams except England is better than his corresponding away record. Against Pakistan, he averages nearly 66 at home and just over 30 away while the numbers against India are 70.31 and 54.55 respectively. However, against England, the numbers are reversed. Although his home average against England is respectable (40.00), it is his performance in England which sets him apart. Among West Indian batsmen with 1000-plus runs in England, Chanderpaul's average of 64.66 is on top and marginally ahead of second-placed Viv Richards' 64.28. He is also sixth on the overall list of visiting batsmen with the best averages in England (min 1000 runs scored).
|Opposition||Home (Matches/Runs)||Home (avg, 100/50)||Away (Matches/Runs)||Away (avg, 100/50)||Overall (Matches/Runs)||Overall (avg, 100/50)|
|Australia||9/1045||80.38, 5/6||11/604||30.20, 0/5||20/1649||49.98, 5/11|
|England||18/960||40.00, 2/7||13/1164||64.66, 3/7||31/2124||50.57, 5/14|
|India||17/1547||70.31, 5/9||6/491||54.55, 2/1||23/2038||65.74, 7/10|
|New Zealand||4/234||46.80, 0/2||9/495||41.25, 1/4||13/729||42.88, 1/6|
|Pakistan||6/527||65.87, 1/2||8/459||30.60, 0/4||14/986||42.86, 1/6|
|South Africa||9/820||63.07, 3/2||11/799||42.05, 2/5||20/1619||50.59, 5/7|
|Sri Lanka||2/130||43.33, 0/1||5/248||41.33, 0/2||7/378||42.00, 0/3|
|Overall||65/5263||59.80, 16/29||63/4260||43.03, 8/28||128/9523||50.92, 24/57|
Chanderpaul has been involved in 62 century stands during the course of his career. He has shared nine century partnerships with Lara and seven each with Dwayne Bravo and Ramnaresh Sarwan. He also had a very prolific association with Carl Hooper (six century stands) - In the 2002 home series against India, the pair was involved in three massive partnerships of 293, 186 and 215. The number of runs scored while Chanderpaul is at the crease (23054) is 34.04% of the total team runs (in matches Chanderpaul has played in) and serves as an excellent indicator of his ability to occupy the crease for long intervals. Chanderpaul has displayed tremendous consistency against both pace and spin throughout. In Tests since the beginning of 2002, he averages 58.26 against pace bowlers (73 dismissals) and 59.01 against spinners (53 dismissals). However, since 2007, he has had an outstanding run and the corresponding averages are 71.66 and 62.73.
Madhusudhan Ramakrishnan is a sub-editor (stats) at ESPNcricinfo