Shivnarine Chanderpaul – the last great West Indies cricketer

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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.


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  1. Is it even legal for Shiv to retire?

    I thought there was A Law Against This Kind Of Thing.

    Few cricketers have done more to earn their retirement.

  2. Shivnarine Chanderpaul – proof of the utter futility of existence. There was no point to what he did, the West Indies won nothing. Indeed, his career covered the period when just as you thought it couldn’t possibly get any worse, it did. If Shiv hadn’t scored all those runs, literally nothing would have changed.

    The Teleological Argument fails on this single point – if there is an ultimate purpose to the universe, where does Shivnarine Chanderpaul fit into it? He doesn’t, so there isn’t, and therefore there is no God.

    By the way, I’ve just elbowed a small child out of the way. Nonexistent God bless you Shiv.

  3. Shiv deserves a strongly written letter of apology from his previous teammates. A talent such as his deserved to be remembered as the foundation around which a legion of fans spoke in hushed tones of how brilliant their team was.

    From his previous employer he deserves something better. Perhaps a sarcastically tall statue of him, hunched awkwardly over the crease. Of course for Shiv no statue could be tall enough to be termed “sarcastically tall” without the top of his head gently scraping the Insternational Space Station.

  4. I made a horlicks of my right elbow by over-stretching while playing tennis last week.

    So I have celebrated the elbow element of Shiv’s retirement today by playing a set entirely left-handed against Daisy (with a surprising degree of success) and then having some painful treatment on my right elbow.

  5. I tried turning on a few light switches. It went OK, but I don’t think my wife understood my explanation as to what I was doing.

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