Delhi, India — West Indies batting hero Shivnarine Chanderpaul says that batting on the Feroz Shah Kotla pitch is like batting in his homeland Guyana. The champion left-hander made a superb 111 not out on Sunday as the West Indies ended the opening day of the first Test on 256-5 against India. He suggested the pitch is similar to that at the Albion Sports Complex in Berbice, Guyana – the ground where India and West Indies played a One-Day International back in 1983.
After the day’s play Chanderpaul observed: “This (pitch) is similar to the pitches in Guyana. It is a lot like the pitch at Albion. It is quite flat and without much bounce. I grew up playing on pitches like this back home. It took a little time to get in but after I did I could play my shots and look to put the runs on the board.”
He reached triple figures off 144 balls with six fours and two sixes. He explained: “From the start, I felt if I played slowly we would be under more pressure. I thought from the start the pitch was pretty good and it would be OK to play a bit more aggressively. We will take what we have now and tomorrow looking to push on and get some more runs on the board.”
It was Chanderpaul’s 24th Test century and he is now joint third on the West Indies all-time list of century makers with Sir Viv Richards. They sit behind Sir Garry Sobers (26) and Brian Lara (34). It was his seventh century against the Indians – placing his behind Sir Garry and Sir Viv who both made eight.
The 37-year-old Chanderpaul, who made his Test debut for West Indies way back in March 1994, has been a key member of the team for close to two decades. He is now in his 136th match and is the second-highest run-maker for West Indies with 9,604 runs, behind Lara with 11,953.
Asked about his milestone he noted: “In the beginning (of my career) I never thought this would happen. I never quite thought I would reach such a milestone. I just stick to what I can do. I come to play cricket and I concentrate on my cricket. I’m pretty comfortable where I am.”
He was full of praise for 18-year-old opener Kraigg Brathwaite, who made a career-best 63 in his seventh Test innings. It was his second Test 50 and came off 212 balls in over four hours. He added 108 for the fourth wicket Chanderpaul.
“He (Brathwaite) played really well. He played his way which is very patient. He did his job. This is a couple of times now he got past 50 and I hope next time he gets a big score. I told him just to look for the singles and if the bad ball came along to look to put it away. He played really well for the team,” said Chanderpaul.
“The other players at the top of the order got the runs coming out of Bangladesh but unfortunately they didn’t get a lot of runs today, but they are very capable of doing that (scoring big runs).
”We have enough quality players here good enough to get big scores. It takes the pressure off of me knowing that there are others in the team capable of getting the job done. I’m out there just looking to do my job.
“My job is also to help the young guys. When I’m out there batting with them and I see something I try to help in which every way I can. Today I talked to Kraigg and pointed out a few things. Whenever they ask and I can help I do.”