West Indies v India, 3rd Test, Dominica

Dhoni wants runs, Chanderpaul needs them

While both unorthodox batsmen have had a string of low scores, MS Dhoni's position is under no threat while Shivnarine Chanderpaul will be wondering whether he'll go the same way as Chris Gayle and Ramnaresh Sarwan

Sriram Veera in Dominica

July 5, 2011

Comments: 42 | Text size: A | A

Shivnarine Chanderpaul weathered an incisive spell from the seamers, West Indies v India, 2nd Test, Bridgetown, 2nd day, June 29, 2011
Shivnarine Chanderpaul is not the most orthodox batsman © AFP

You can't take your eyes off Shivnarine Chanderpaul when he is batting. Watching him live at the ground is a disorienting experience; bowling at him must be even more disorienting. His stance reminds you of a batsman at a crowded park on a Sunday in India, where multiple teams jostle for space and where you will often find another batsman standing next to you but playing a different game, on a pitch that runs diagonally across your strip. The present scenario in West Indies cricket, in particular the outlook the board seems to have on the senior players in the side, has made it even more fascinating to watch Chanderpaul bat.

He is at a crossroads in his career. "New direction" is the new buzz on the Caribbean circuit these days. There is a feeling in the region that there are people in power who are almost waiting for Chanderpaul to fail so they can dump him. It's not a great time to be a senior player. Chris Gayle has been sidelined by the board, Ramnaresh Sarwan has just lost his place and the guns are now trained on Chanderpaul.

A couple of months ago, Chanderpaul was involved in a spat with the board and the team management. Chanderpaul had felt his commitment had been questioned and retaliated with an angry outburst in which, among other things, he accused the selectors of asking him to retire, the board of not arranging adequate treatment for his injuries and the team management of trying to micromanage his batting. After meetings with the board, he was included in the team for the Tests against Pakistan and India

Chanderpaul is also, according to people close to him, currently grappling with some personal issues. Overall, he isn't in a great frame of mind. Ironically, cricket offers him the best escape from all his issues. He can shut his critics up with his bat, and earn himself some mental relief with runs. It's the one thing that is under his control. In that context, he must have been gutted when he got a shocking lbw decision in the second innings at the Kensington Oval. He, however, did not throw a fit. He did not even linger at the crease. He just turned and walked away. It must have taken tremendous mental discipline.

But then, discipline is what defines Chanderpaul's batting. Abhinav Mukund, the young India opener, said he learnt a lot by just crouching at short-leg during the Barbados Test and watching Chanderpaul bat. "He was leaving deliveries that were so close to the off stump," Abhinav said. "He always played late. I learned a lot. I also want to leave and play late like that." The runs, though, aren't coming for Chanderpaul. He has spent 852 minutes at the crease in his last six innings, but managed only 165 runs at a strike-rate of 29.41. Dominica may not be the last-chance saloon but it's pretty important that he gets some runs.

Another man struggling for runs is someone who, like Chanderpaul, is known for his unorthodox style of batting: India's captain MS Dhoni. Unlike Chanderpaul, Dhoni is under no pressure. He has been winning everything as a captain and if he wins in Dominica he will be the first India captain to win 2-0 in the West Indies. In fact, India have won two Tests in a series outside the subcontinent only three times: in New Zealand in 1967-68, in England in 1986 and in Zimbabwe in 2005.

Dhoni's scores in this series read 0,16, 2, and 5, and though his position is under no threat it is still an issue he would like to address. He has this knack of coming up with a substantial knock just when you begin to notice his failures. He hit a 98 in November 2010 against New Zealand after going seven innings without a half-century, and followed it up with 90 in Centurion against South Africa. It has since been seven innings in which he hasn't got a half-century.

But these patterns are typical of Dhoni the Test batsman. He is impressively consistent in ODIs but in Tests he often slips into anonymity before coming up with a sparkling knock. He can surprise you sometimes with his poor shot selection: a cut straight to cover point, an uppish drive to mid-off, a tame, lunging push with the bat way ahead of the body. Then, on his good days, that same cut would just clear cover point, the uppish drive would fly past mid-off and the lunging drive would result in an edge past gully. And he would be up and running.

Dhoni would probably take a team victory in Dominica, but some runs, ahead of the tougher England series, won't hurt. Two batsmen, with unorthodox but effective batting styles, will set out on a hunt for runs in Dominica.

Sriram Veera is a staff writer at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Kricket_Fan on (July 7, 2011, 16:40 GMT)

Senoirs players in WI team is under lots of pressure we all can see that. Seems like all that have being said of coach and management have no use for them is true...Like the WICB have not learn anything from the Chappel era in India.

Posted by rockz.andy on (July 7, 2011, 12:07 GMT)

Chanderpaul play spin verywell onething for he is playing as good as he was playing against india vs India the thing is india have a quality fast bowers this tame than any of its tours tht india visited that makes a difference he is falling for fastbowlers everything.thats it!

Posted by   on (July 7, 2011, 8:24 GMT)

Dhoni's spot isnt under threat atm BUT if he keeps up his form (averaging just over 5 this series) then it wont be too long be4 selectors want to try Saha or Parthiv. Chanderpaul on the otherhand, he just needs to up the strike rate to near 50 and he will be fine, if he leaves everyball he won't score runs and it is just a matter of time be4 sharma sends down something unplayable. Also does WI actually have anyone better to replace chanderpaul?? no, nash is out of form, simmons cant score a run in tests, kieron powell and kirk edwards failed in thier debut innings and even dwayne bravo seems to lack commitment to anything other then IPL. Gayle could be the man but WI doesnt seem to want him either so i dont think u could drop chanders right now.

Posted by   on (July 7, 2011, 7:09 GMT)

Veera .......... He may be having personal diffcultiies. Mind you, he will not be let down by those things in cricket. He is well trained in this regard n the best of hinduism. His Guru ji has mentally strengthened him by giving him essential tips in hindusim. He is a stong shiv baktaha who mediates at a center in gerogetown. He has carried the same into cricket field. He does mediate in the moddle in the tough times with bowles and haas come out with flyng colors. Many have different ways of coping up with the stress. This man's remedy is medtative contemplation in the cricket field/ i am confident ths great westindian will come good aganst the crcketers from the land of his forefathers in the next test.

Posted by Kothandaram on (July 7, 2011, 6:44 GMT)

Good article about two players who are struggling to find form with the bat. Chanderpaul has been a vital cog in the WI line-up for several years now and has probably been one of their best batsmen over a long period of time. he faces a spell on the sidelines if he doesn;t hit form soon. on the other hand, Dhoni has had moderate success in tests and struggled at various points of time. though he does come up with fine knocks now and then, he has struggled for consistency in the longer version.. his technique or lack of it, shows up at time and he invariably struggles abroad.. hope he can set it right

Posted by b4u8me2 on (July 7, 2011, 5:21 GMT)

I cannot help but notice the rush by the WICB to dismiss all the senior players from the WI team. Could this be a ploy in enabling the setting up of the WI High Performance Center to be seen as a masterful idea? Already they are pushing in Powell, a student from the high performance center, who obviously is not yet ready for test cricket with only one first class century and no obvious signs of any special talent. in the space of two series spanning only 5 test matches we have seen the demise of Sarwan, Nash and Gayle. We're also seeing where Jerome Taylor is being kept from the team and Chanderpaul being asked by the WICB to retire. I kno they are waiting on Baugh to fail as well so they can bring in Devon Thomas, another high performance center student. We all saw where they picked him over Baugh after Baugh was once again fit after the World Cup and Baugh only came in because Thomas was injured. This starting to look like a conspiracy from the WICB.

Posted by Rahul_78 on (July 7, 2011, 5:13 GMT)

It is imperative that Dhoni strike some form ahead of England series. There will inevitably some early wickets going down in England with overcast conditions, early swing and potent new ball attack. India's lower middle order and even tail enders need to contribute with the bat as it gets little easier with the older ball to bat. Bating at no 7 it will be up to Dhoni to shepherd the lower middle order and counter attack Swan and co. Make no mistake the below 400 scores will not be enough against England on their home soil in their own conditions. India will need runs on the board to exert pressure on England batsmen.

Posted by PaddyRasta on (July 7, 2011, 4:41 GMT)

@ranpath Hold on mate. There is Gayle whose 333 means he averaged 91 in his last test series (he batted 4 times) and although he only really performed vs England (not couting the minnows) his average was 42 in the WC. The problem with the openers is inexperience. Gayle should be there mentoring young Barath. When Barath plays a rash shot he just tries again to correct it and gets out - Like yesterday. The senior batsman would walk down the pitch and tell the man to cool down and maintain his wicket. Note also that Chanders had the 3rd best average (38) in WC but was then dropped for Pakistan ODIs. His 44 n.o was the only innings of note vs Pakistan in their last WC match (WI was bowled out for 112). Is this reasonable from management or selectors dropping him then? I truly hope he finds form because this experiment blooding new players and chopping and changing is not working - he still has a couple years left to contribute if totally supported by management to do so.

Posted by Pras1501 on (July 7, 2011, 1:27 GMT)

guys.. i dont think these two have been compared.. its just that they have been very important players in their team.. both unorthodox.. and both needing runs.. as simple as that.. and anyone asking why dhoni is in the test team.. it's because he is not frontline batsman.. he is more of a all-rounder.. and he does his keeping job effectively and i seriously dont find you can drop dhoni as he is not scoring.. he does need to score.. he cant take his place for granted though..

Posted by Zycr9 on (July 6, 2011, 21:05 GMT)

Chanders played in 132 tests as a front line batsman for WI coming at no.4 or 5 for many years and yet he is still not comfortable at the crease like he should be even after scoring 9000 runs.and Y compare him with Dhoni who played 56 tests so far??? and Dhoni is not a frontline batsman and people forget he comes at no.7 and he is the BEST n Greatest captain india will ever have and he is very good wicket keeper who does the job so u got 3 dimensional player in ur side and still people whine about it. Compare frontline batsman with frontline batsman.It is job of top 6 batsman to score but in this series totals have been around 250. Top order failed too. And apart from that he got horrendous decisions twice in last two test matches and has to bat according to team's needs bcoz of him being captain. People just want to blame Dhoni for the slightest of opportunities. With 20 half centuries and 4 hundreds he hasn't done badly at all. Team has been victorious in last 3 yrs since sep 2008

Posted by Cricket_BornForIt on (July 6, 2011, 21:03 GMT)

I feel Dhoni always get's lucky when ever his batting is questioned. He get's away with his captaincy wins. But seriously he is not a test batsmen and India should look for other better option in Test. His captaincy is very good but with his bat in test he is equally bad. Couple of knocks here and there is not good at all. With such extended run in test i guess even parthiv, Karthik, Saha can score more than him.

Posted by ranpath on (July 6, 2011, 20:27 GMT)

As a senior player a lot more is expected and they also serve as an example to younger players. None, and repeat NONE, of the senior players, in recent times have lived up to such expectations. I wish to pint out that at one time even the great Steve Waugh was dropped, for a few tests, when he started having bad form with the bat.

Posted by jackylucky on (July 6, 2011, 17:52 GMT)

why west indies cricket board want to fight out Gayle and sarwan and chanderpaul after they hv been around for a while , but caricom need to come in right now

Posted by Rahulbose on (July 6, 2011, 16:38 GMT)

WI selection policy of pushing the seniors is very strange. It is not like they have a lot of quality players sitting on the bench. Seniors like Chanderpaul and Gayle are the best players they have, yet they are hell bent on shutting them out of the team. Its sounds like a NBA team trying to tank the season to get a draft pick, only there is no draft and no lottery in this case.

Posted by   on (July 6, 2011, 15:22 GMT)

India also won two tests in Australia in 1977-78.

Posted by Vindaliew on (July 6, 2011, 14:37 GMT)

Love how Mukund takes every opportunity to learn. He knows not everyone gets the chance to watch a great in action from close up.

Posted by TestIP on (July 6, 2011, 12:52 GMT)

OTTIS GIBSON needs to go. He has problems with the seniors because when he was playing with them he couldnt perform or compare to them. Shame on this guy to come in and destroy the team that was not doing too bad. With Ottis Gibson as coach WI new name will be WIN ONE SOON! All the fans will run! The current WI administration needs to go. The have messed up to many good players career. Ganga, Sarwan, Nash, Ramdin, Dwayne bravo , Taylor, Samuals, Chanderpaul and now Gayle. How much more proof does people need to see that this WI management is bias and set to destroy cricket in the caribbean. WI Team should be Gayle, Bharat, Sarwan, Chanderpaul, Bravo, Darren Bravo, Ramdin, A Russel, Taylor, Rampaul and Edwards with Bishoo as the 12th.

Posted by   on (July 6, 2011, 11:56 GMT)

The article is great but I don't like the comparison between one of the greatest test batsman (Shiv Chanderpaul) of our era with MSD, who was always inconsistent in tests. MSD is an average player-poor technic against good bowling and poor keeping but a cool-headed captain with the courage to take decisions. But he should be rested in tests with a better keeper like W Saha (currently the best in India) and leaving the captaincy to Gambhir. He is anyway the automatic choice in ODI. I must say India is lucky that Shiv Chanderpaul is slightly out of form but that will not last for long time. I really hope that he gets the respect that he deserves.

Posted by Pathiyal on (July 6, 2011, 11:48 GMT)

when you are fighting a war within yourself, your performance gets affected. hostile board? i am sure. but chander has to believe in one thing - that for us cricket lovers, he is greater than WICB becos of cricketing reasons. i wish him to do his level best. he can laugh his past out later when he sits in the board at a later part of his life.

Posted by   on (July 6, 2011, 11:23 GMT)

Dhoni would probably take a team victory in Dominica, but some runs, ahead of the tougher England series, won't hurt. Two batsmen, with unorthodox but effective batting styles, will set out on a hunt for runs in Dominica.,,,

Posted by gloriouscricket on (July 6, 2011, 11:14 GMT)

Chanderpaul has served the WI cricket well:He is deserving of a play today at Dominica, but surely WI crickets fans, myself included, must realize that he is at the end of his test cricket career. He needs to be given a graceful exit with all the alcolades afforded a great cricketer who has served with distinction. The management of the cricket owes it to the supporters to place a winning team on the field, it,s inevitable that youth must be bought into the team, they must be bought in early,Chanders himself should,ve been mentoring others to take his place.I wish him well, but the bells toll for us all.Good luck WINDIES.

Posted by Silverbullet1985 on (July 6, 2011, 10:38 GMT)

Well thats the beauty of being a captain - you can get away with anything - just see how many from the West Indies have been after Sammy's life - saying that he is in only because of being the captain, if not would have easily been replaced by much better and deserving quicks!

Pity, though one can say the same about Dhoni being out of form yet in because of being the captain, the second part cannot be true - there is indeed no one to replace him - at least for now, Parthiv and the rest are just not upto the mark!

However, the man has class and thats permanent and more importantly more than any othe game - he has luck! So He may or may not fire, he sure will lift the trophy and be the first man again to win two in here! Go Dhoni Go!

Posted by Amminikkala on (July 6, 2011, 10:21 GMT)

Chanderpaul was the wall for WI for almost a 10years...great to see him doing his contributions to his cuntry. Dhoni, in other hand is a wonderful player and captain in other formats of the game (ODI & T20), but when it comes to test cricket, he may be the luckiest captain, but not a successful captain...to me he should lead from the front, not only in deciding bowling changes or field positions, but atleast score some runs or take some wikets..Why in India its not an issue for players who consistantly perfrom below average, still has a confirmed place in the team? I believe we don't have much of talent awiting for a chance like what happens in Australia.!!! Anyway all the best to the Team India, and to Dhoni, who should now stand up and take some runs....rather than showing his winning flag, because of the successof someone else in the team.....! Jack-Doha

Posted by   on (July 6, 2011, 9:59 GMT)

Chandrapaul is one of the finest batsman of all time unfortunately slightly underrated like Laxaman. He is a tough guy and put price on his wicket. He is a wall of west indies cricket team. He is wristy and all time great.

Posted by ssm2407 on (July 6, 2011, 9:40 GMT)

Dhoni may not be in the best of form at the moment but Im sure he'll raise his game for the tougher challenges ahead,just as he did in the World Cup final. The best players thrive on pressure so rest assured when the time comes to stand up & be counted, Dhoni will be there - Cometh the Hour, Cometh the Man!

Posted by vasthav on (July 6, 2011, 9:03 GMT)

Chanderpaul is one of those greatest test batsmen in the world . U can never compare a legend like chanders to an ameteaur like dhoni .I accept that dhoni is a gr8 batsman in the shorter format but in the longer format he still needs to prove himself.But I like the way he bats with tailenders

Posted by PaddyRasta on (July 6, 2011, 7:59 GMT)

@StraightHit Chanders was asked to retire, so no, his place is not secure. All seniors have been under scrutiny and blamed for WI failures e.g. Gibson blaming them at the end of WC. If he does not perform this time, he will be cast out regardless of other batsmen failures because the expectation of him is greater. He understands that someone needs to keep their wicket and anchor the innings hence his slow approach. He was truly unfortunate to be out to a bad decision last time.. but them's the breaks. Hope he has better luck next time and shows his class!

Posted by Notredam on (July 6, 2011, 6:18 GMT)

Dhoni is a legend and cannot be droppe dform team my prdiction is he will lead inida till 2015 world cup in 3 formats..retire then frm game...and lead a legend's life..

Posted by aus_sore_losers on (July 6, 2011, 6:10 GMT)

chanderpaul is best in the current WI line-up, no doubt about that. but still he cant just score at the <30 strike rate every time, which seems to be the case. he seems to bring the score card to halt, but nevertheless occupies the crease which other batsmen are finding hard at the moment. WI cant play without him, atleast for next 2 yrs or so. and talking about Dhoni, he will score sooner than later. he is more than batsman in the team, his captaincy and wicket keeping are lot valuable to the team, but i m sure he'll soon start scoring runs frequently. there is no better wktkeeper-batsman in india than him. as for india not winning more than 2 matches outside subcontinent more than 3 times, i think fair umpiring in 2003-04 and 2007-08 series in australia would have made the series 2-1 and 2-0 respectively.

Posted by   on (July 6, 2011, 5:55 GMT)

I might be wrong but I think Dhoni was out a couple of times trying to increase the scoring rate because the team wanted some quick runs. And he also got some rough decisions in the series as well. Not sure if the bad decisions and the shot selections which got him out overlapped, but its not fair to compare Dhoni to Shiv because their predicaments are totally different.

Posted by   on (July 6, 2011, 5:24 GMT)

well dhoni is a bit out of form nw bt everyone goes through that phase in there career when things nt go there way... so its nt right 2 critized him nw fr nt scoring... he will b back in form sooner rather than later n also nt forget that he bats at no.7....... regarding chanderpaul he is a bit 2 slow fr present day cricket bt still he is d best in westindies at aleast... he cannt b dropped frm d wi side... it wil b horrible n a shame on wi cricket..... wat he did fr wi cricket is priceless...

Posted by xylo on (July 6, 2011, 4:44 GMT)

Chanderpaul's tenacity is similar to that of Dravid. The only difference between these two men is the backing they receive from their respective boards. And look at what difference it makes.

Posted by   on (July 6, 2011, 1:34 GMT)

Those criticizing Chanderpaul for his slow batting should realize that he always is forced to play when the top order has melted going for their stupid shots. As I said before, the two batters in the current WI lineup that I would fear are Sarwan and Chanderpaul. They dropped Sarwan and they may drop Chanderpaul. Then WI can just focus on ODIs and T20s because they wont be a test side worth watching. Part of the WI problem is that many of their fans dont really understand test cricket.

Posted by S.N.Singh on (July 6, 2011, 0:41 GMT)


Posted by wifan69 on (July 6, 2011, 0:15 GMT)

@insidehedge...if shiv didn't face so many balls WI would have definitely loose the match....and if u can't read don't comment on these articles....the guy said he is batting under orders from higher ppl....

Posted by InsideHedge on (July 5, 2011, 20:35 GMT)

Yeah, Chanders will shut up the critics with another blazing knock of 6 runs off 87 deliveries. He makes Dravid look like Viv Richards. Chanderpaul's batting in the 2nd Inns of the Barbados chase was shocking. I'm amazed there's been no criticism. Ofcourse, had there been any, he would have thrown his toys out of the pram and joined Gayle in condemning the board. WI are slowly improving, and with the removal of each "star", the team is getting better. Darren Sammy cuts an impressive figure, he may not be the best player in the world but there's an air of dignity about him that Gayle and his like will NEVER achieve.

Posted by CricketChat on (July 5, 2011, 20:10 GMT)

I am at a complete loss to understand Chanderpaul's batting strategy in the last few tests. His place is secure, is the senior most batsman in the team. However, he pushes, nudges and prods around not using his yrs of experience and in his home country. Never looked to establish his authority on bowlers. Scores at an agonizing rate of about 30. I think he should seriously consider retiring tests. Looks like he is already counted out of shorter formats.

Posted by r.r.madhav on (July 5, 2011, 19:05 GMT)

this is in the blood of Indians who want to be established as statesman!!

Sriram Veera very well remembers the error of umpire in that one dismissal of Chanderpaul, however he conveniently chose to forgot that MS Dhoni was given out wrongly 2 times out of 4 innings.

keep it up Mr Sriram Veera!

Posted by Inspector_Clouseau on (July 5, 2011, 18:47 GMT)

Only his stance is unorthodox but he plays all orthodox shots.

Posted by Htc-Baseball on (July 5, 2011, 18:31 GMT)

chander is a player with high respect among lplayers all over and all cricket lovers..Will be great if he makes a gritted century along with samuels..I don hav much faith in bravo,but its upto these 2 players if WI r to keep india offshore.India with Ishanth blazing looks really good.....

Posted by ToTellUTheTruth on (July 5, 2011, 17:48 GMT)

Don't forget that Dhoni's two innigs were cut short by two poor decisions (no balls both...no less). With such luck no btasman can be expected to do miracles.

Posted by Graeme_Pollock on (July 5, 2011, 17:45 GMT)

In addition to the series mentioned above, India also won 2 tests in the 1977-78 series in Australia but lost that series 3-2.

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