Messrs. Chanderpaul: Shivnarine then, Tagenarine now
Tagenarine follows in father and legend Shivnarine’s footsteps, set to make debut in Australia.
He bats left-handed. The stance is open chested, but not audaciously parallel to the stumps like his father. The last-second shuffle, however, is typically Chanderpaul. And he sometimes marks his guard with the bail. Meet Tagenarine, son of West Indies legend Shivnarine Chanderpaul, all set to make his Test debut in Perth on Wednesday.
An opener, Tagenarine is the newest hope of West Indies who are struggling to maintain their position in world cricket after an exodus of players to franchise leagues, compounded by their consecutive failures to make a mark in the T20 World Cup that they had won twice before.
Cricket has often been graced by fathers and sons playing at the highest level. Iftikhar Ali Khan Pataudi and Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi were rare examples who played for England and India. Post-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 beyond the subcontinent, Chris Broad and Stuart Broad, Micky and Alec Stewart (England), Geoff Marsh and Shaun and Mitchell Marsh (Australia) and South Africa’s Pollocks (Graeme, Peter and Shaun) are some of the well-known families to have played. West Indies too have 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 West Indies was never really in doubt, given the pedigree or the sheer number of runs Tagenarine has piled 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 he was named in the squad, Tagenarine didn’t leave his Test selection to chance, scoring 119 and 56 against a Prime Minister's XI in the buildup to the Perth Test.
Coincidentally, Tagenarine will be opening 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, so it’s not shocking that he has a son that is playing. Tag will do a fantastic job and let’s hope he could even do greater things like his father did.”
Father Shivnarine feels 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 is going to be a feather in his cap, and probably help him to propel his career," Chanderpaul told icc-cricket.com.
"I used to love playing against Australia, especially in the beginning of the year, because they push to raise your standards and if you can do well against them throughout the year, you will do well, because you're playing at a different level," he added.
Father and son have batted together 11 times for Guyana when their domestic careers overlapped, the last coming in 2018 when Tagenarine scored his maiden first-class hundred. It’s one of those phases that gave Shivnarine a unique insight into Tagenarine both as son as well as playing mates.
Here’s his assessment as batting partner: "He's one of those guys who, when he gets a chance to get in, he'll try and bat long. There are a few other things he can work on, but he's got an opportunity now and hopefully, he can grab it.”
That’s as honest an appraisal you can get from the most experienced West Indies Test player on someone who will be cap no 330 on Wednesday.