Tagenarine Chanderpaul squandered several starts during the regional four-day season
By Avenash Ramzan
It is not hard to believe that Tagenarine Chanderpaul would be the first to admit that the West Indies Cricket Board’s (WICB) Regional Four-day season, from a personal standpoint, did not go as planned.
Coming off a highly successful Youth World Cup stint with the West Indies Under-19 team in the United Arab Emirates in February, the 17-year-old was in prime form and the prospects of him dominating the senior regional bowlers were high.
He finished the World Cup with 293 runs from six games and was the fifth highest runscorer in the tournament and the second leading West Indies scorer behind the exciting and hard-hitting Trinidad and Tobago wicketkeeper/batsman, Nicholas Pooran, with 303.
Consistency was the key for the young left-hander as he followed up scores of 84 against Zimbabwe in the opening game and 93 against Canada the match after, with a splendid 112 against India in the final game, albeit in a losing cause in the fifth-place playoff.
With the burden of expectations resting on his youthful shoulders, Tagenarine was selected as part of Guyana’s squad for the Regional Four-day tournament in March, and though he started off with a hat-trick of scores in the 40s, it was not all smooth sailing.
In five matches during the tournament, the opener managed just 195 at an average of 19.50 with a highest score of 43 against the Combined Campuses and Colleges (CCC) in Barbados.
Reflecting on his performance during the season, Chanderpaul, who also played four matches last year, scoring 176 runs, pointed out that his performance was way below what he had planned.
“Definitely I’m not satisfied; I wanted to score a few 50s at least, but that did not happen,” he related to this publication on Friday.
Despite falling short of his target, Chanderpaul, who turns 18 on May 31, said the experience gained from rubbing shoulders with and competing against the Region’s top cricketers was one of the positives derived from the tournament.
“Yes I learnt a lot from being around the senior players in the Guyana team and talking to the other players from the rest of the teams, so it was a good experience in that regard,” he reckoned.
Being the offspring of one of cricket’s all-time greats, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, the weight of anticipation will be inevitable every time Tagenarine strolls to the crease.
It is something the young Chanderpaul is cognisant of, and the clue lies in the way he approached his batting during the four-day season.
While he did not light up the tournament by any stretch of the imagination, the fact that he occupied the crease for long periods and was willing to grind it out was refreshing, especially coming from a player his age.
His 43 against the CCC was a minute shy of four hours and spanned 178 balls, while the knock of 40 against the Windward Islands at Providence took three hours, 44 minutes and required 154 deliveries.
All told, young Chanderpaul soaked up 873 balls to score the 195 runs he got during the five matches. Quite remarkably, he spent a total of 1224 minutes at the crease, that’s a whopping 20 hours and 24 minutes.
That’s the sort of stats you’d associate with the older Chanderpaul, but with time on his side, and an obvious appetite for lengthy innings, Tagenarine could very well be on his way to tormenting bowlers the way his father has done for the past two decades.
However, being an opening batsman- a prime position for big scores- Tagenarine is rightly annoyed at not cashing in during regional four-day season, because when it’s all done and dusted, it’s the runs that count.