The stance of Shivnarine Chanderpaul is, it can be safely reported, unique. Because if even his son Tagenarine does not direct himself toward the square-leg umpire when facing up to a bowler running in from the umpire at the non-striker’s end, then there can be no one else so idiosyncratic.
The younger Chanderpaul, however, does carry many of this father’s other more useful traits and many of them were on display in an unbeaten 84 that was the cornerstone of the West Indies’ first win in the ICC Under 19 World Cup tournament on Sunday.
Zimbabwe were comfortably swept aside by 167 runs, done in by an impressive fast-bowling attack, in attempting to chase 276. But it was Chanderpaul who was responsible for them having to get that many.
Much like his father has been for so long with the senior side, Tagenarine was an anchor, firmly and deeply entrenched at the crease and hardly fazed by the conspiracies of the environment around him.
“The pitch was OK, but it took a while to get going, to get in,” he said. “I started scoring a little faster at the end, but that is basically the plan [as an opener], to bat out till the end.
“In the first match, I got run out [without facing a ball], so I wanted to get some runs.”
In appearance, there is not much difference between father and son. Tagenarine is as delicately built as father and is as relentless with his pre-strike tics and rituals. He walks the pitch like him, too – loosely, thin arms dangling by his side and to the eye incapable of generating any kind of power.
Some of his shot-making is equally awkward, especially when he heaves to the leg-side and finds only that the ball has barely reached the outer limits of the 30-yard circle. At times he looks like what he is: a natural right-hander turned to batting left-handed. But when his body coordinates itself properly into a stroke, he times it as sweetly and you wonder how a ball caressed with such little force can speed away to the boundary.
Predictably, the six boundaries he hit were pristine. But nothing resembled his father as much as the final effect: the 84 off 135 balls and over three hours, calm, unbeaten and unbowed.
It turns out that he is as economical with words, and as generally shy and retiring, as his father. There was never any question he would get into any other sport (“Basically just cricket,”). But his batting has developed ever since his father moved back home from Florida in 2009. “Early on, I used to practise with my grandfather, but then my father came back home to live with us and started working with me,” he said.
There will be more to watch with the West Indies side than just Tagenarine, though. Their fast bowlers looked very handy in dismantling Zimbabwe’s top order.
In particular, Ray Jordan, who ended up with three wickets, was very sharp, and had it not been for a couple of missed chances, Zimbabwe would have struggled to reach triple figures