Guyana Jaguars opener Tagenarine Chanderpaul has defended his stone-wall batting approach amid the criticisms and calls for him up the ante.
Chanderpaul, after four rounds of the ongoing WICB Professional Cricket League Regional four-day tournament, is currently among the leading run-getters.
He sits fourth on the list with a tally of 300 runs behind Kirk Edwards (344), Anthony Bramble (327) and Montcin Hodge (327). He averages 65.40, and only Bramble’s 109.00 is superior.
Though those returns are quite stirring, it is his strike rate of 24.81 which has caused some alarm.
Chanderpaul, however, does not seem the least bit fazed as he pointed out to Stabroek Sports on Sunday, following Jaguars win over the Windward Islands.
“I’m just trying to play each ball on its merit, especially the new ball… playing straight and rotating the strike because the other guys have been going well, especially Bramble,” he said.
“So, my role is just to give them the strike,” Chanderpaul added following his not-out knocks which included a century against the Islanders.
Asked if he enjoyed batting time, an almost non-existent feature in the Windies approach these days, and whether he is at all affected by the negative noise, the 22-year old chuckled and shrugged off any sign of being affected by the whispers.
“Yeah, that’s the only way you can score runs, so I just try to do that and get some runs by the end of the day,” he said with a wry smile while adding; “You can’t stop people from saying what they like… I’m just here to do my job.”
He also plans to be more consistent in view of his higher ambitions.
Meanwhile, Skipper Leon Johnson, in commenting on Chanderpaul’s approach, said the young man’s batting is in no way affecting the chemistry of the team.
In fact, Chanderpaul’s methods are a complement to the hard-hitting lower order batsmen and seem to fit right into the team’s seemingly obvious approach, which entails piling on sizable first innings scores – a physiologically and physically tiring examination for opponents.
“There will always be critics out there but look, it’s not affecting the team in any way in this kind of cricket… if he bats a very long time, it’s obviously good for the team.
“In the first innings, he carried his bat, and we got 400 odd runs, and if he’d been reckless there, things could have gone the other way but yeah, he is doing his job. He understands his game, and he doesn’t stray too far away from his strengths,” Johnson told Stabroek Sport.
The skipper added: “If you look at the set-up of Guyana team, there are a lot of stroke makers in the side and if you have someone who is there to keep an end tight, it allows those stroke makers to play their game.”
Asked whether he should, at minimum, attempt to hone the skills of rotating the strike a lot more and to navigate balls into vacant areas, Johnson said: “If the coaching staff has an issue with it, they will address it but at the moment I don’t have an issue, and it [strike rate] hasn’t affected us in any way.”