He hits left-handed. The stance is open-chested, but not daringly parallel to the stumps like his father. However, the shuffle at the last second is quintessentially Chanderpaul. And he sometimes marks his guard with the bail. Meet Tagenarine, son of West Indies legend Shivnarine Chanderpaul, set to make his test debut in Perth on Wednesday.
An opener, Tagenarine is the West Indies’ latest hope, who are struggling to maintain their foothold in world cricket following an exodus of players to franchise leagues, compounded by their successive failures to make a mark in the T20 World Cup that they had won twice before.
Cricket has often been revered by fathers and sons playing at the highest level. Iftikhar Ali Khan Pataudi and Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi were rare examples playing for England and India. After independence, India and Pakistan had Lala Amarnath and his sons Mohinder and Surinder, Hanif-Shoaib Mohammad, Vijay-Sanjay Manjrekar, Nazar Mohammad-Mudassar Nazar and Pankaj-Pranab Roy. From outside the subcontinent, Chris Broad and Stuart Broad, Micky and Alec Stewart (England), Geoff Marsh and Shaun and Mitchell Marsh (Australia) and the South African Pollocks (Graeme, Peter and Shaun) are some of the well-known families that have played. The West Indies has also had Sir Everton Weekes and David Murray, George-Ron Headley and Conrad Hunte-Colin Croft. The Chanderpauls are the latest and equally illustrious addition to that list.
That he would play for the West Indies was never really in doubt, given the pedigree or sheer number of runs Tagenarine has racked up in age group (he scored 293 runs in the U-19 World Cup in 2014) and domestic cricket, especially when after he had scored 117 off 484 balls against Windward Islands in 2019. But his debut was probably delayed by two years of Covid-19. Once included in the squad, Tagenarine did not leave his Test selection to chance, scoring 119 and 56 against a Prime Minister’s XI ahead of the Perth Test.
Coincidentally, Tagenarine opens with captain Kraigg Brathwaite who had batted with Shivnarine during the twilight of his career. “It’s remarkable for him,” Brathwaite said on Tuesday. “Obviously he was a great player so it’s not shocking that he has a playing son. Tag will do great and let’s hope he can do even bigger things like his father did.”
Father Shivnarine feels that a debut in Australia is the right test baptism for his son. “It’s not going to be easy in Australia. No other team has come here and done well. If you can do well against Australia it will be a feather in the hat and probably help him propel his career.” Chanderpaul said. told icc-cricket.com.
“I always enjoyed playing against Australia, especially at the beginning of the year, because they push to raise your standards and if you can do well against them all year round then you will do well, because you play at a different level,” he added.
Father and son have fought together for Guyana 11 times as their domestic careers overlapped, most recently in 2018 when Tagenarine scored his first first-class hundred. It is one of those phases that gave Shivnarine a unique insight into Tagenarine, both as a son and playmates.
Here’s his assessment as a batting partner: “He’s one of those guys who if he gets a chance to come in he’ll try to hit long. There’s a few other things he can work on but he’s got a chance now and hopefully he can get it.
That’s the most honest assessment you can get from the most experienced West Indies Test player of someone who will be cap No. 330 on Wednesday.