Cricket / Second Test: Chanderpaul's battered baptism: Tony Cozier watches the West Indies new boy struggle to find his feet in the top flight

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The Independent Online
THE West Indies selectors took a surprising gamble by tossing Shivnarine Chanderpaul into his Test debut yesterday. At the age of 19, Chanderpaul is a neat left- handed batsman with a keen appreciation of the value of his wicket, and a quickish if uncomplicated leg-spinner.

However, whether he was ready for this swift promotion is open to question. He was only told of his selection 24 hours before the match, when Carl Hooper's back injury ruled him out.

The choice of Hooper was clear and reasonable. On a Bourda pitch that has always been a graveyard for fast bowlers and has, if anything, favoured spin of late, Hooper's controlled off-spin would have lent variety to the pace-based attack, while his batting was worth a place on its own.

Hooper has 40 Tests and almost seven years of Test cricket behind him. He is an experienced player who has bowled more than anyone else except Curtly Ambrose in his seven Tests under Richie Richardson's captaincy.

As Mike Atherton and Robin Smith rebuilt England's innings in ideal conditions, the type of variety Hooper would have offered was sorely missed. Chanderpaul, obviously nervous, could not provide it, instead serving up full tosses and long hops at regular intervals to ease the pressure.

His deserved reputation is based more on his batting and it is as such that he will embellish it on the international stage. He has been a consistent scorer in the Red Stripe Cup for three seasons and has dominated the Under-19 tournaments for even longer. In England last summer he compiled a double century in one of the youth 'Tests'. He is more an accumulator than strokemaker, gathering his runs with timing and placement rather than power.

He is the first teenager to play for the West Indies since the left-arm spinner, Elquemedo Willett, against Australia in 1973. Like so many boy wonders, Willett did not fulfil expectations and faded after five Tests. It would be surprising if Chanderpaul does the same. He is so committed to the game that his family allows him to skip school to practise and to play as much as possible.

There is one important aspect about his selection. He is the first player of East Indian descent selected by the West Indies since Alvin Kallicharran's exit in 1982.

Viv Richards announced yesterday that his playing career is over and he will not now be joining Denton of the Cheshire League this summer.

SCOREBOARD FROM GEORGETOWN

(First day: West Indies won toss)

ENGLAND - First Innings

* M A Atherton not out. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .131

(374 min, 265 balls, 15 fours)

A J Stewart b Walsh. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .0

(5 min, 4 balls)

M R Ramprakash lbw b Walsh. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2

(6 min, 6 balls)

R A Smith c Lara b K Benjamin. . . . . . . . . . . . . .84

(217 min, 160 balls, 11 fours, 1 six)

G A Hick c Richardson b Ambrose. . . . . . . . . . . .33

(96 min, 77 balls, 3 fours, 1 six)

G P Thorpe b Ambrose. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .0

(18 min, 13 balls)

I D K Salisbury not out. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2

(22 min, 20 balls)

Extras (lb2 nb4). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6

Total (for 5, 374 min, 90 overs). . . . . . . . . .258

Fall: 1-0 (Stewart), 2-2 (Ramprakash), 3-173 (Smith), 4-245 (Hick), 5-253 (Thorpe).

To bat: R C Russell, C C Lewis, A P Igglesden, A R C Fraser.

Bowling (to date): Ambrose 19-3-46-2 (5-1-15- 0, 5-0-15-0, 9-2-16-2); Walsh 19-5-42-2 (6-2-7- 2, 8-1-30-0, 5-2-5-0); K C G Benjamin 16-1-56-1 (3nb) (6-1-23-0, 10-0-33-1); W K M Benjamin 17-3-53-0 (2-1-1-0, 4-1-8-0, 6-0-22-0, 5-1-22-0); Adams 3-1-10-0 (2nb) (one spell); Chanderpaul 16-2-49-0 (3-1-5-0, 13-1-44-0).

Progress: 50: 89 min, 20.1 overs. Lunch: 70-2 (Atherton 34, Smith 29) 29 overs. 100: 165 min, 39.2 overs. 150: 209 min, 49.2 overs. Tea: 174-3 (Atherton 83, Hick 0) 58 overs. 200: 271 min, 67.2 overs. 250: 340 min, 82.5 overs. New ball: 75 overs, 228-3.

Atherton's 50: 153 min, 124 balls, 6 fours. 100: 275 min, 219 balls, 11 fours.

Smith's 50: 171 min, 117 balls, 7 fours.

WEST INDIES: D L Haynes, * R B Richardson, B C Lara, K L T Arthurton, J C Adams, S Chanderpaul, J R Murray, W K M Benjamin, C E L Ambrose, K C G Benjamin, C A Walsh.

Umpires: C R Duncan and S Venkataraghavan.

Match Referee: J R Reid.

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