The labelling of overseas players as overpaid mercenaries still gets an airing from time to time but a window into the world of Shivnarine Chanderpaul would present an entirely different picture, according to his current county coach.
The Guyanese, 38 and with nothing remotely to prove after scoring almost 20,000 runs in international cricket, is playing for his fourth English county after promoted Derbyshire pushed the boat out to make him their marquee signing. Yet Karl Krikken could not be more robust in his insistence that Chanderpaul's presence in his dressing room is worth every penny.
Chanderpaul made his first century for Derbyshire against Surrey two weeks ago and is on course for another here after Nottinghamshire's decision to bowl first in what looked like classic bowler-friendly Trent Bridge conditions did not work out as planned.
After a day restricted by rain to 65 overs, Chanderpaul is unbeaten on 78 after he and the Derbyshire captain, Wayne Madsen, set about staging a reprise of their stand of 265 against Surrey. So far they have put on 145 and Notts will be anxious not to allow them to settle in again this morning.
"It was difficult for Shiv at the start, playing on result wickets at Derby, but he has never moaned and now we are getting some flatter wickets the tempo changes but he knows we have to try to get results," Krikken said.
"He has been immense for us but it is also his work-rate behind the scenes, with the youngsters in the squad in the nets. He is a great cricketer and the time he spends in the nets and the way he thinks about his game is what we want our younger players to emulate."
In his usual way, Chanderpaul gathered his runs with deceptive swiftness. There was no flamboyance about his strokes, but his clever placement ensured a steady supply of comfortable singles and his timing is such that his boundaries, which so far number 10, were often merely guided to the fence.
It could not have contrasted more, for example, with the style in which Chesney Hughes launched the Derbyshire innings. Hughes favours lavish strokeplay, cutting with a flourish and driving with a full follow-through. He ran up nine boundaries in his 59 as he and the steadier Billy Godleman gave Derbyshire their best start of the season. But then he perished when an extravagant pull went up in the air and he was caught at mid-off.
The wicket compensated Harry Gurney, who had seen Hughes, on 48, and Godleman, 19, dropped off consecutive balls by Samit Patel at slip. Notts have Andre Adams back, which made Chris Read's decision to make use of a green pitch even more of a formality, but it was Derbyshire's day.Reuse content