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April 26, 2012
Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Test cricket's latest 10,000-run man, is providing incalculable value to a young West Indies team by the example he sets in training and at the batting crease, Darren Bravo has said. Bravo was at the crease with Chanderpaul when he passed the mark on day four of the third Test against Australia in Dominica, and their partnership briefly gave the hosts hope of chasing down a distant target of 370 to defeat the tourists.
Though both would be dismissed before the close, Chanderpaul lbw on a DRS referral by Australia's captain Michael Clarke in the final over of the day, Bravo said the progress being made by the Caribbean side was due in large part to the fact that the team's younger players have Chanderpaul's famously relentless batting to measure their methods against.
"The good thing about it is whenever you talk to Shiv and ask for advice, he is 100% willing each and every time [to share his advice]," Bravo said. "We're very fortunate to have him in this team at this point in time and we enjoy his company, he's going to be around for a very long time still. He's scored lots of runs and as young batsmen in the team we should try to take a page from Shiv's book as much as possible - as long as we do we're going to improve as a batting unit in the future.
"I think the way he practises, he puts his heart and soul into the way he practises. Shiv's a guy who will bat first at training and then be the last to leave the nets, so it is something us as young batsmen can look at. The way he goes about an innings is special, he plays the ball on its merits and his concentration level is very good. It is just a matter of learning from him as much as possible … very important for us to pick his brain at every opportunity."
Bravo said the privilege of being at the other end when Chanderpaul stroked run No. 10,000 would stay with him for a long time, and only served to strengthen a batting relationship that has already reaped six century stands in Test matches.
"Batting with Shiv when he achieved his 10,000th run was a special feeling, really nice to be out there with him and share the moment," Bravo said. "We're all happy for him and he's going to go down as one of the best batters for the West Indies, so I'm really happy for him.
"Shiv is someone I enjoy batting with each and every time, we have had a few partnerships, we tend to get pretty decent partnerships. When I'm batting with Shiv he's always there encouraging me and telling me to treat the ball on its merits and try to rotate the strike as much as possible. I try to do that. Batting with Shiv gives me confidence, we all know he's much more experienced so batting with him is definitely a plus."
Having made 45 to conclude a series in which he has made plenty of starts but never quite carried on, Bravo said he was determined to learn from his first meetings with Australia. As stumps approached on day four, Bravo had been undone by a quicker delivery from allrounder Shane Watson - the ball was onto him with more pace than expected and prompted an edge through to wicketkeeper Matthew Wade.
"I believe it was an effort ball from Shane that had a bit more pace than the previous delivery," Bravo said. "I think, looking at the replays, it was too close to cut. I have to learn from those mistakes and go from strength to strength. I don't want to focus too much on the negatives, I am always taking positives.
"I'm disappointed in my performances [in this series] but I think I tried my best. In certain situations I was able to get a partnership with another batsman going. It is a learning experience and it is very important for me to learn from my mistakes."
Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets hereFeeds: Daniel Brettig
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