On Sunday, at the Kensington Oval in Barbados, the eighth round of the Regional Professional Cricket League (PCL) four-day match between the hosts and Guyana was interrupted for the Twenty20 International game between the visiting Pakistanis and the West Indies . The latter, after another dubious and irresponsible display, (the less said the better), promptly lost another encounter. This apparently engrained routine of losing has now become, to borrow a popular military acronym, SOP, standard operating procedure.
The West Indian players might have been better served if they had spent their time on Saturday and Monday, watching the third and fourth days’ play of the Barbados/Guyana match. There, if they could have managed to concentrate on the match at hand, (more than forty overs were going to be bowled), put away their iphones and forget about tweeting, twitter and social media, etc, they would have been able to have a close up look of what the West Indies selectors have deprived them of, a true cricket professional team mate who understands how to apply himself to the job at hand.
On Saturday morning, Guyana resumed their first innings at 119 for 4, with Shiv Chanderpaul, 15 and Raymon Reifer, 25, as the overnight batsmen, replying to the mammoth score of 480 for 3, compiled by the home side. When Reifer was dismissed for 31, reducing Guyana to 133 for 5, Barbados must have relished the thought of an outright win and replacing their floundering opponents at the top of the points table. Shiv was still there, and as we are well aware, there is no challenge too big for him to tackle. He faced 197 balls and spent just over four-and-a-half hours at the wicket, and added 106 for the sixth wicket with wicketkeeper Anthony Bramble, 77, before Guyana collapsed to 250, losing their last five wickets for 11. Shiv’s numerical contribution was an even 50, having arrived at the crease with Guyana at 64 for 3.
Guyana resumed on Monday morning at 119 for 3, needing another 111 to avoid an innings defeat, with Shiv, 30, and Vishaul Singh, 14, seeking to defy the odds. Shiv’s 63 would lead the resistance, as the tail wagged with Reifer, 35 not out, Bramble, 30, Pestano, 38, and Motie, 29, (with the last pair adding 32), all contributing as Guyana accumulated, 332. With Barbadian-born Reifer grabbing 4 for 49, the hosts were unable to reach the target of 93 in the twelve overs available, as Guyana escaped with a draw. Despite the daunting total of 480, Guyana had steadfastly battled against the tide on foreign territory for two-and-a-half days, refusing to relinquish their position. One wonders how many West Indian players were on hand to witness Guyana’s unwillingness to concede defeat?
Forty-two year old Shiv continues to defy the odds of time and seems to have gotten better with age. The PCL 2016-17 season began last Novem-ber and Chanderpaul has been the main pillar of Guyana’s batting. His scores have included two nineties and centuries against Barbados and Trinidad, in consecutive games in December, at Providence. After eight rounds, Guyana remains atop the leader board, as a third consecutive regional four-day title beckons.
The numerous mileposts in Test cricket which Shiv has passed are well documented, as is the shabby way in which the West Indies ushered him out of international cricket. Lancashire County Cricket Club, a former employer, has secured his services for the upcoming county season, well aware of the work ethic approach and professionalism he will bring to the dressing room.
It is a tribute to his indomitable spirit, his love of the game and willingness to work tirelessly on his craft and on his fitness levels throughout the years that we are still benefiting from his performances.
When Shiv reached 19 in the first innings, he had become the ninth West Indian to score 26,000 first class runs. He had joined the rare company of Gordon Greenidge (37,354 runs, 45.88 average, 92 centuries), Sir Vivian Richards (36,212, 49.40, 114), Roy Marshall, (35,725, 35.94,68), Alvin Kallicharran (32,650, 43.64,87), Clive Lloyd, (31,232, 49.26,79), Rohan Kanhai, (29,250, 49.40,86), Sir Garfield Sobers (28,314, 54.87, 86), Desmond Haynes, (26,030, 45.90,61). Shiv currently sits on an aggregate of 26,094 runs, scored at an average of 54.58 with 73 centuries.
Guyana is at home for the final two rounds of the PCL, with matches against the Leeward Islands Hurricanes and the Windward Islands Volcanoes, in April. If this is Shiv’s swansong ‒ we hope isn’t ‒ so be it. Father Time does catch up with all of us, at some stage.
This could be your last chance to be graced with the sighting of the rare white Tiger.
Thank you Shiv. We’ll miss you.