Mumbai: West Indies’ star batsman Shivnarine Chanderpaul made his international cricket debut in 1994, barely five years after Sachin Tendulkar made his first appearance in the international arena.
Come Thursday, Chanderpaul will make his 150th Test appearance as Tendulkar plays his 200th and bids goodbye to cricket. After a hard training session at the Wankhede Stadium, Chanderpaul was asked about the magnitude of the occasion, and he said: “It is not every day that someone gets to a 150th Test match, so it is a milestone for me. I am looking forward to it. With Sachin playing his 200th Test match, I would be honoured to be a part of it.”
Chanderpaul, at 39, is one year younger to Tendulkar but is as fit as the legendary batsman. He has 10,897 runs in Test cricket at an average of 51.89, just a little lesser than Tendulkar’s 53.71 but candidly admitted that watching Tendulkar is a learning experience. “We have watched him [Tendulkar] over the years. There is so much [to learn] playing against him watching from the other side,” he said.
Chanderpaul still enjoys his cricket, playing the game his way and batting with a style totally different from others. “It is always a joy to look at him [Tendulkar] bat even when he is batting against us. There is so much you can learn from a legend like him. He is a master of batting. His art, his skill and looking at him you can learn a lot,” he said.
When asked to share some of his experience with Tendulkar, Chanderpaul said: “In 1994 when we came here, he was batting and in the beginning, he was a little bit out of sorts. He got some runs against New Zealand and then after that, we couldn’t figure out where to bowl to him,” he said.
Chanderpaul even said that there were moments when his whole team prayed that Tendulkar got out. “Some guys were saying that sometimes, we probably need to bowl a little wider but he hit them for four. If you bowl him close, he still hit them for four. So where do we bowl him. We couldn’t work out a way to bowl him, we were just hoping he would get out somehow,” he said.
Chanderpaul is 1000 runs short of becoming the highest rungetter for West Indies, breaking Brian Lara’s record of 11,953 runs. When reminded of this milestone, he said: “To get 1000 runs is not easy. I never thought I would get this far in the beginning. I reaslised that one can go forward a lot if one is persistent,” he said.