Chanderpaul puts team first
SHIVNARINE CHANDERPAUL achieved some personal milestones at Kensington Oval yesterday, but the bigger picture remained his ultimate goal.
On a ground where he has now scored more Test runs than any other West Indian, Chanderpaul completed his 25th Test century, surpassing the great Sir Viv Richards as he put West Indies in a strong position against Australia in the first Digicel Test.
“We actually set team goals and the team goals were what we were working towards. I didn’t set any personal goals,” he said after his unbeaten 103 that lifted West Indies to a formidable 449 for nine declared. “The team’s goals help us to achieve whatever we want to achieve individually.”
Now only Sir Garry Sobers (26) and Brian Lara (34) have scored more centuries for the West Indies.
Chanderpaul’s effort was a typically gritty performance against highly fancied opponents but so focused is this group of West Indian cricketers on competing as a unit that the veteran batsman readily acknowledged the overall contribution of his teammates.
“I never expected to be the person with the most runs at Kensington,” said the former West Indies captain.
“Given I am a guy from Guyana and to come to Barbados and actually to have the most runs is a hell of an achievement at Kensington.
It’s always a very good wicket to bat on once you get it.”
The veteran of 138 Tests enjoyed the conditions yesterday despite the challenge of coming up against the battle-hardened Australians
“You always want to do well and against opposition like Australia the world is watching. When you go against them, you have to bring your ‘A’ game. You can’t just walk out and decide you will play anyhow against them. You have to step up,” he said.
“It was pretty much a decent track but they bowled well on it. They made you work hard for everything. They were disciplined . . . .
“They [Australia] bowled well and they were patient.”
While Chanderpaul was full of respect for his opponents, he spoke equally highly of his fellow players, particularly the young members of the team and the lower order batsmen who supported him as he drew close to his century.
“You have to trust them and believe in them also. When I went on strike they [Australia] pushed everybody back on the boundary,” he said.
“It was a risk for me to take a chance hitting on the wicket, especially when the guys were bowing and the spinners getting the ball to bounce. I just had to play according to what was happening out there and trust the guys to stick around.”