On November 14th 2013, Indian legend Sachin Tendulkar will play his highly-publicised 200th and final Test match.
But tomorrow’s date will also hold a certain significance for one softly spoken, obdurate and hard-working batsman currently on the Derbyshire staff.
West Indies great Shivnarine Chanderpaul will compete in his 150th Test and the world will be watching.
When the second and final Test comes to a scheduled close on Monday, Chanderpaul and Jacques Kallis will be the last two cricketers who began their careers in the 1990s still competing on the international stage.
Shiv has enjoyed a career spanning over 19 years and is a member of the illustrious 10,000 Test runs club – and he’s still going.
“It’s not every day that someone gets to their 150th Test match,” he said. “It’s a milestone for me and I’m looking forward to it.
“Starting out I could only have dreamt of reaching so many Tests. I’m very grateful for every opportunity I get and I hope I can continue to help the West Indies.
“Sachin, of course, will also be playing his 200th Test match and it’s an honour to be part of that.”
As the West Indies team transformed from the Walsh-Ambrose-Lara-Adams era to the Roach-Rampaul-Bravo-Gayle-Samuels era, Chanderpaul has been the rock which has tried to bring some serenity in a rather turbulent landscape.
He was the duct-tape which tried to mend the cracks that had developed in West Indies Cricket over the last two decades.
Chanderpaul has the highest number of caps for a West Indian player. He has the third longest test career in West Indian history, in terms of time. Only Allan Border and Rahul Dravid have scored more runs than him at a lesser strike rate.
Batting undefeated for 1,000 minutes on the trot is one of the pinnacles of concentration and Test Match batsmanship. Chanderpaul has done it four times in his career. He is also the only player to have faced 1,000 deliveries in test cricket without being dismissed.
Known for his frugality with the bat, he also holds the bragging rights to one of the fastest centuries in Test Cricket. His 69-ball 100 against Australia in Guyana, in 2003, is among the finest knocks by a West Indian.
He has 28 test tons to his name, out of which eight have been in losing causes. Only Brian Lara and Sachin Tendulkar have more in losses. He also has 30 half centuries in losing causes, which is the most for a Test player, and by a long way.
The records and accolades gathered by this humble batsman will, inevitably, continue to rise as will the plaudits for one of the most productive Test players of all time.
"It takes a lot of work. You have to put in a lot of work," Chanderpaul said about his illustrious career.
"As an individual you have to pick yourself up to go to the nets, do a lot of work, practice the way you go bat in the game.
“There are so many things you have to do - training, keeping the fitness and everything that takes to get on the park and get your work done. And also maintain a standard you think will help you to succeed at the highest level."
Derbyshire's coaches, players and staff can all vouch for Chanderpaul’s incredible work ethic. He will, undoubtedly, always be the first one to training and the last one to leave spending hours on end blocking the bowling machine into submission.
Amazingly, after one charity event after the end of the season when everyone else was packing up and preparing to head home, the West Indies international remained behind to run laps around the outfield. “Rewards come from hard work,” he said.
Tomorrow, Chanderpaul will get his reward for the years of dedication he has given to the sport and will step out for his 150th Test match.
It will most likely, however, be over-shadowed by the retirement of a fellow great, but it shouldn’t be underestimated the impact Shiv has made to this great sport.
Good luck in your 150th Test Shiv and we all look forward to welcoming you back to Derby next year.
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