As the old french saying goes, ‘plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose’ and nowhere was that more fitting than at the Oval on a chilly Easter weekend. In a County Championship match for Lancashire versus Surrey, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, aged 42, did what he has done since his first class debut over 25 years ago; scored runs, lots of runs.
One of crickets great accumulators, Chanderpaul, whose 11,867 test runs puts him seventh overall in the game’s top run scorers, rolled back the years to put on a masterclass in run accumulation. Chanderpaul, whose front on stance would have modern coaches pulling their hair out, scored his 74th first class century to help Lancashire claim a draw after a top order collapse on Day 1 of the match.
Chanderpaul, who made his debut for the West Indies just under a year before Surrey’s Tom Curran was even born, came to the crease with Lancashire in trouble at 44-3. Tasked with leading a fightback, it took him 15 balls to score his first run and saw him lose two partners in the space of three balls as Livingstone & Vilas fell to Footitt.
In a scene reminiscent to the majority of his test career, he became the calm anchor around which an innings was to be built. He started the fightback with a 55 run partnership with McClaren before the latter was dismissed with the score on 122-6.
He and Clark then put on 243 for the seventh wicket before the Lancashire’s innings ended with Chanderpaul’s dismissal for 182. Lancashire were 470 all out, with 426 of them coming while he was at the crease.
There is something so wonderfully reassuring about watching Chanderpaul in action. A player seemingly out of time with the modern game, yet a perfect reminder of just how beautiful the art of run scoring can be.