Abu Dhabi: West Indian batting great Shivnarine Chanderpaul will be one of the few cricketers fortunate enough to see his legacy prosper while he is still at the crease.
His 17-year-old son Tagenarine is already creating waves and is tipped as the future of West Indies cricket even as his 39-year-old father, who has made 29 centuries in 153 Tests, nears retirement.
Chanderpaul Jr. is part of the U-19 West Indies team taking part in the youth World Cup in the UAE. He made clear that he is well prepared for the challenge ahead in the next couple of weeks by compiling an unbeaten 62 in his team’s warm-up match win against New Zealand.
“I’m really excited to be here and, hopefully, I can score some big runs. I managed a decent score in the warm-up and that was good to boost my morale. We arrived here early and did some useful training in Abu Dhabi and that helped,” said the opener, displaying a subdued demeanour similar to his father.
The Chanderpaul father-son combination made headlines in 2012 when they were involved in an unbeaten partnership of 256 runs while playing for Gandhi Youth Organisation against Transport Sports Club back home.
The duo remained unbeaten on 143 and 112 as their team finished with a total of 312-2 from 40 overs, which proved enough to win as their opponents were shot out for 187.
“Yes, I have been fortunate to partner my father in a few games and that has done wonders to my confidence. There’s no better feeling than having father besides you with loads of experience. He kept giving me vital tips all through that innings,” Tagenarine recalled, adding that things changed for him drastically ever since his father switched base from Florida and joined him in 2009.
“I was living with my grandfather [Khemraj] and training under him. However, since my father joined me, we have been training together. His presence has been the difference,” said Tagenarine.
He added that his father was constantly following his performances and he even texted him after his showing in the warm-up.
In terms of similarities between father and son, both are left-handers.
Tagenarine was originally a right-hander but trained to be a southpaw from an early age.
Unlike Chanderpaul Sr., known for his unorthodox batting stance — which one wouldn’t find in any coaching manual and has even been described as crab-like — the son has a normal way of facing bowling.
But he takes guard exactly the same way as his father — hammering the bail on the crease.
Most importantly, he displays a key trait of his father — patience. He is capable of spending hours at the crease and making himself very hard to dislodge.
“No, I have my own style. I don’t stand up front-on like my father,” says Tagenarine. “I stand normally and I have my own way of batting. I bowl a bit of left-arm spin but batting is my strength.”
Tagenarine represented Guyana at the Under-17 and U-19 levels, and even won the Guyana Cricket Board’s U-15 Cricketer of the Year Award in 2011.
Last year, he played club cricket in the Division Six of the Newark Alliance in England and scored three unbeaten centuries in a row for Stainsby Hall Cricket Club.
“In the regional U-19 tournament, I did well and the World Cup team was selected from that. The club cricket in England was a huge learning experience. It was good, tough cricket there on green top and testing conditions. So, to play good cricket out there and get some runs was really nice,” said the teenager, who has taken a break from studies after high school and is concentrating fully on cricket.
Chanderpaul junior’s abundant talent prompts the obvious question: is the pressure of stepping into his father’s shoes weighing heavily on his shoulders?
“Not really. I try not to think about it. Taking that pressure won’t help. I have got this opportunity and want to play cricket to the best of my ability and see West Indies do well.”