Blessed with amazing talent and armed with an extraordinary batting stance, Shivnarine Chanderpaul debuted in 1994 and served the West Indies for 21 years playing a total of 454 international games. By the time he played his last international game in 2015, he had amassed 20998 runs and was the 7th highest-ever run scorer in the long form of the game and behind only Brian Lara for his country.
In an interview, the 43-year-old Shivnarine Chanderpaul spoke about the special moments of his illustrious career, his views on the the current crop of West Indies Test players, the constant controversies surrounding the Cricket West Indies, why he rates Wasim Akram as the best bowler he has faced, and his plans for the future.
By Saj Sadiq (5th October, 2017)
PakPassion.net: You've had an illustrious career, one that you can be proud of. Looking back are you satisfied with your achievements?
Shiv Chanderpaul: Yes definitely. I can't complain. It was tough at times but I am happy that I was able to pull through and perform for my country with dignity for a number of years. I could not have asked for much more.
PakPassion.net: Undoubtedly there were more enjoyable days earlier in your career for West Indies rather than towards the end of your international career?
Shiv Chanderpaul: In the beginning I had a lot more better days as we had a lot of big names and recognised players in the team and guys who could win games, but as time went on it got tougher and tougher. It's never easy when you are losing but we always had some guys who would show some fight and spirit and do well despite the losses. Then in the later days for West Indies my role changed and I was one of the guys who was there to help and guide the younger generation which was different but enjoyable. I just hope people remember me as one of that type of player who fought for his team and gave his all whenever he put on the West Indies shirt.
PakPassion.net: Any particular moments during your career that you look back on with pride?
Shiv Chanderpaul: There were many moments and great times. One special moment that I will always look back at with a lot of pride will be scoring an unbeaten Test hundred at Lord's and then following it up with 97 not out in the second innings. That really stands out for me as making runs at the home of cricket was always a special feeling for me and for any cricketer irrespective of where they are from.
PakPassion.net: You played alongside some of the all-time greats. Any of those greats stand out for you?Shiv Chanderpaul: In the beginning I had Desmond Haynes and Richie Richardson around me to help and guide me and Carl Hooper was also there. Then Brian Lara, Courtney Walsh and Curtly Ambrose were around and all of these guys were good guys to have around. They weren't just big names but also great team men and players who would go out there and get the job done and show the way to the rest of the team. I learnt a lot from those guys and gained strength from them. PakPassion.net: Your technique was always scrutinised. Was it something that evolved or did you copy it from one of your role-models?Shiv Chanderpaul: As a kid growing up I didn't watch much cricket. My father was always an admirer of Alvin Kallicharran and my father was probably trying to train me to bat like Alvin. But then over the years I developed my own style and worked on a technique that would help me with my balance, because initially I was falling over to the off-side when I was batting. So my technique was adjusted to stop me from falling over and to get my balance more onto the front foot and it worked for me.PakPassion.net: You faced some of the greatest bowlers in history. Who was the best bowler that you ever faced?Shiv Chanderpaul: I faced some of the greatest bowlers of all-time but Wasim Akram was the best. Waqar Younis, Glenn McGrath and Shaun Pollock were also superb bowlers but Wasim Akram is the one that stands out for me. PakPassion.net: Does the way that your international career ended still hurt?Shiv Chanderpaul: It's done and dusted now but I think it could have been handled a bit better, but there's not much that can be done about it now. I've moved on from it now and am looking ahead instead of back.PakPassion.net: What do you make of the current crop of West Indian cricketers that toured England?Shiv Chanderpaul: It's a young team and that win in the second Test against England will have given them a lot of confidence. That win showed the world that the talent is still there in West Indies and they still have enough good players. That win should give the team confidence going forward in future series. Regardless of whatever happens next, the team should grow from that win and draw strength from it and get better in the future. PakPassion.net: Do you think there are signs that West Indies is starting to develop some good Test cricketers?Shiv Chanderpaul: I've played against Shai Hope in regional games in the Caribbean and he looks a fine prospect. He has been consistently one of the highest scorers in domestic cricket and he scored a double-hundred against us and he is one who I have high hopes for. Roston Chase and Kraigg Brathwaite are two others from the current group who I think have potential and can do well for the West Indies in future.PakPassion.net: There always seems to be a controversy around the corner between the West Indies Cricket Board and the players. Why is that and what can be done to stop this happening in future?Shiv Chanderpaul: The problem is that sometimes people who have not been put in the position to be the players' representative take it upon themselves to speak out. If you elect someone to speak on the players' behalf then that individual should be trusted with the job of speaking. Instead other players jump in and speak out and cost the Board money. If you have a representative let him speak on your behalf properly and sort out any issues. You don't need all the players involved as then it becomes a free-for-all. PakPassion.net: There are high hopes for your son, do you see him having a bright future in cricket?Shiv Chanderpaul: I think it has to be one step at a time and he needs to score runs for Guyana first and let's see where it goes from there. It all depends on him and how much he wants to succeed. I can guide him and help him but at the end of the day it's down to him.PakPassion.net: West Indies cricket has been in the doldrums for a number of years. Why is that and what needs to be changed to turn things around?Shiv Chanderpaul: One of the missing ingredients is that in the past we had a lot of our players who came to England and developed their game in county cricket. They learnt their game in county cricket and improved as a result. Nowadays that does not happen and we need to get more of our boys playing county cricket again. Get them over here and playing professional cricket in England and develop their talent.PakPassion.net: There are accusations that most West Indian cricketers only want to develop their Twenty20 game and play in Twenty20 leagues around the world?Shiv Chanderpaul: I think that is right for some of the guys but there is a core who still want to play Test cricket as well. But yes I think a lot of the players focus is on Twenty20 cricket as that is where the money is. It's a shorter version of the game which means that there is more time to spend with the family.PakPassion.net: What can the authorities do to ensure the survival and popularity of Test cricket?Shiv Chanderpaul: I think day/night cricket is the way forward. It's a shame that the recent match in England did not go the distance but I believe that the future is day/night cricket. People still love Test cricket despite Twenty20 cricket being very popular due to its fast pace and the fact that it is finished in a few hours, but I think that innovation such as pink ball cricket can see Tests retain its standing as the best format.PakPassion.net: Who of the modern-day batsmen do you rate the highest?Shiv Chanderpaul: You have to look at Steve Smith, Kane Williamson, Virat Kohli and Joe Root but it's very difficult to single one of them out as the best. They all bat in different conditions and I rate them all very highly. These guys shine in all conditions against all opposition and are the stand-out batsmen of the modern era.PakPassion.net: Any plans once you stop playing cricket?Shiv Chanderpaul: I've not made any specific plans yet as I am still enjoying playing but I would love to get involved in coaching teams back home in the Caribbean and around the world and get the opportunity to share my experience and cricket knowledge with young cricketers in future.