Category: West Indies (page 1 of 30)

Shivnarine Chanderpaul’s take on specific training

David Warner said that back in 2012, he saw Shivnarine Chanderpaul put in a six-hour shift against the bowling machine.

“I said ‘This is ridiculous, how can you do this?’ and he said: ‘If you’re going to bat for six hours in a game you might as well practise it.’”

Shivnarine Chanderpaul.

Shivnarine Chanderpaul – the last great West Indies cricketer

Photo by Sarah Ansell

Photo by Sarah Ansell

The world’s coaching manuals can breathe a sigh of relief because the greatest dissident of modern times has officially called it a day. No-one who remains will question them quite so persuasively. Cricket’s lost a lot.

The start and end

When Shivnarine Chanderpaul made his Test debut, he did so in a team containing Desmond Haynes, Richie Richardson, Brian Lara, Curtly Ambrose and Courtney Walsh. When he played his final Test, he came in after Marlon Samuels, a man who continues to be selected despite averaging just 33.

We’ve worked in a company like that. At the start, it was a vibrant place full of expertise. By the end, a guy who was found to have sold company data was retained because he cried when he was caught and seemed like he was sorry about it. The IT manager discovered a dead bird in the server and thought the best way of disposing of it would be to try and flush it down the toilet. The company was dying and these were by no means the least-qualified people remaining. The guy who spent the morning reclining on his office chair with his foot in the bin almost certainly was.

Imagine finding yourself in that situation. Imagine the impact on your motivation and professionalism of being surrounded by a confederacy of dunces. Do something well and most wouldn’t even be qualified to recognise it. We get a sense that was the world in which Shivnarine Chanderpaul eventually found himself. But yet where most of us would rush to the exit, Shiv ploughed on – the last great West Indies cricketer.

The last?

Hopefully that won’t prove to be the case, hopefully there will be a resurgence, but it seems unlikely at present. At best, Shiv’s retirement snaps the last thin thread to what is now undeniably a previous era.

Excuse us if we resort to a series of links to mark his departure, but we’ve already invested a lot of time in writing about him. Even if he himself rarely got any kind of payback for the long hours he invested at the crease, we’re not keen to pay tribute by doing likewise.

He deserves better than the written equivalent of a frenzied T20 knock, so here are some of our long form innings about him.

The man who wrote his own textbook in illegible handwriting

Rickets, Chomsky, Shane Watson talking bollocks and the art of persisting for long enough that eventually the world changes shape to accommodate you. Shiv was our final King of Cricket for All Out Cricket.

The eternal watchfulness of Chanderpaul

A tribute in the wake of his 10,000th Test run, written for Cricinfo. It’s basically just 11 different ways of describing that magnificent technique of his. Also includes a Sopranos quote.

Lord Megachief of Gold 2007

The highest honour in international cricket.

Grand Lord Megachief of Gold 2008

The only man to win the highest honour in cricket two years in a row.

How to mark this occasion

How should we should pay tribute to this most magnificent of cricketers? Perhaps we should adopt one aspect of his technique and employ it in our daily life. Today, in honour of Shivnarine Chanderpaul, try and do something – anything – unexpected with your elbows. Let us know how you get on.

Shivnarine Chanderpaul.

Chris Gayle and the fine line between stupid and clever


If you don’t already know, Chris Gayle’s unique selling point is that he likes women. That’s how he defines and sells himself. Quite how vacuous a person has to be before they decide upon a characteristic shared by 90-odd per cent of men as being somehow self-defining is beyond us.

To make it stick, Gayle goes all in. The latest example saw him attempting to chat up a female reporter during a live TV interview. He did it because HE REALLY LIKES WOMEN – NO, LIKE WAY MORE THAN YOU DO.

Unsurprisingly, she wasn’t interested.

It’s a fine line between stupid and clever

There’s a definite line between being ‘a character’ and just being sleazy and disrespectful. For example, when Gayle ignored the ramblings of old Etonian, former MCC president and ex-England manager, John Barclay, and asked him, “You get much pussy?” – that’s funny. It’s totally inappropriate, but there’s a certain power dynamic at play where above all it just seems mischievous or amusingly oblivious.

When a reporter asks you a direct question and you ignore what she’s saying to make a comment about her eyes, that’s different. That’s not mischievous. That’s undermining her and making it impossible for her to do her job. In this instance, Gayle is the megabucks sports star; one of the big names of the whole damn event. It’s a different dynamic.

A lot of people working in sport apparently don’t see the difference.

The furore

As much as this is about Chris Gayle and what he said, it’s probably more about the world that created him. Most people commenting on the issue have pointed out that he’s been swanning about behaving like a naughty 13-year-old for many years now and has not just been left unchecked, but has effectively been encouraged. Chris Rogers makes the point that Gayle’s laddish reputation has seen him put on a pedestal by the media.

We have the dubious pleasure of having to trawl through all of Gayle’s tweets once a fortnight as part of our Twitter round-up for Cricinfo. The thing that always strikes us the most is not so much how he relentlessly promotes himself as some sort of fun-loving ‘player,’ but that there’s always someone who finds him funny. He can say anything, literally anything – usually something totally straightforward about how he likes to party or how he likes women – and some retard will tweet him to tell him he’s ‘hilarious’.

We always assumed it was 12-year-old boys for whom English was a second language, but maybe it’s sportsmen and members of the media.

Marlon Samuels needs to go

Photo by Sarah Ansell

Photo by Sarah Ansell

We’ve always liked Marlon Samuels. He’s mischievous and funny and his favourite cricketer is Nasser Hussain.

He’s also skilful. In the 2012 World T20 final, Samuels waded into Lasith Malinga as if he were a particularly inviting jacuzzi. He’s made Test hundreds. He’s looked really good in doing so.

But skill and humour seem distant concepts at the moment. He averaged 24 in 2013, 30 in 2014 and 27 in 2015. Being as he’s not allowed to bowl any more, it’s hard to see the point. Marlon Samuels has been metaphorically cut by the thunder and yet the West Indies have had a look around and concluded that they have no choice but to persist with him.

It’s the fielding that should tip the balance though. During the first Test, Samuels’ lackadaisical approach was widely mocked. Almost as if it’s the only entertainment he can bring, he’s taken it up a notch in the second Test, missing the ball and shelling easy catches.

Senior players are important. Senior players can provide guidance. Samuels is halfway down the road to being a laughing stock, coolly beckoning his team-mates to follow him.

Is Darren Sammy running away from this streaker?

Or is he running towards him?


Is it even Darren Sammy?

Who knows? Not us – although we’ve named the image file Darren-Sammy.jpg, so that’s quite a big commitment. Never let it be said that we aren’t a risk-taker.

The photo’s from 2007. If you’re wondering why we’re publishing eight year old photos of West Indies players confronting or fleeing from streakers, it’s because all the coverage of the current West Indies tour is depressing and we eventually concluded that we didn’t have anything we wanted to say.

This post feels a bit flimsy. Maybe we could make a joke referring to that ‘Changing energy?’ advert; something about the guy running out of energy halfway through getting changed.

No, with hindsight, we should have just left things where they were. That last paragraph’s only made things worse.

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