Roseau, Dominica: Shivnarine Chanderpaul followed Brian Lara in becoming the second West Indies batsman to pass 10,000 Test runs on Thursday and team-mate Darren Bravo said he is the example to follow for the new generation of cricketers in the Caribbean.
Bravo, who shared in a 110-run partnership with the 37-year-old Chanderpaul, has long viewed his relative Lara as a role-model and that is visible at times in his batting style. But while Lara retired in 2007, Chanderpaul has become the elder statesman in a West Indies dressing room that has become a youthful and inexperienced one under coach Ottis Gibson and skipper Darren Sammy.
While the Guyanese left-hander appears a quiet, almost withdrawn, character off the field, Bravo, who made a smart 45 as West Indies attempted to approach a daunting target of 370, said he is never short of support.
"The good thing about it is whenever you talk to Shiv and ask for advice, he is willing 100 percent, each and every time," said Bravo after the close of the fourth day. "We're very fortunate to have him in this team at this point in time and we enjoy his company.
"He's going to be around for a very long time still, he's scored lots of runs, and as young batsmen in the team we should try to take a page from Shiv's book as much as possible and as long as we do, we're going to improve as a batting unit in the future."
If ever 'Shiv's book' were to be written, it would surely include a chapter on his approach to practice. Chanderpaul, who uses an unorthodox stance, even has a bowling machine at his family home in the United States, so that he can keep his eye in during breaks away from the game. He has also been known to get his sons, including Tagenarine, a promising under-17 player himself, to spend time bowling at him.
"He puts his heart and soul into the way he practices, Shiv's a guy who will bat first at practice and then be the last to leave the nets, so it is something us as young batsmen can look at," said Bravo. "The way he goes about an innings is special, he plays the ball on its merits and his concentration level is very good. It is just a matter of learning from him as much as possible ... very important for us to pick his brain at every opportunity."
Chanderpaul shows no signs of tiring from the task of shouldering so much responsibility, despite years of playing in a team that has been regularly beaten. In this three-Test series, he made a century in Bridgetown, 94 in Port of Spain and scores of 68 and 69 in Dominica.
Although Chanderpaul was dismissed in the final over of the day, his partnership with Bravo at least offered the home crowd the sight of a West Indies team doggedly fighting in an attempted pursuit of the unlikely target. They finished the day at 173 for five.
"Shiv is someone I enjoy batting with each and every time. We have had a few partnerships, we tend to get pretty decent partnerships. When I'm batting with Shiv he's always there encouraging me and telling me to treat the ball on its merits and try to rotate the strike as much as possible. I try to do that as much as possible. Batting with Shiv gives me confidence."