It was a father-son bonding moment like none other at the West Indies Cricket Board Professional Cricket League Regional four-day tournament. The second day of the match between Guyana and Jamaica on Saturday (March 11) at Sabina Park in Kingston witnessed the Chanderpauls, Shivnarine and Tagenarine, prove the adage ‘like father, like son’ correct with fifties in the same innings.
Tagenarine, 20, made 58 off 125 balls (5×4, 1×6) opening the batting for Guyana, while Shivnarine, 42, made 57 off 175 balls (4×4) slotted in the middle order. They even batted together for 12.2 overs, putting on 38 runs for the fourth wicket.
“I was always looking forward to seeing him playing at the first-class level and what he could do,” Shivnarine had said when he was in the national team and opportunities to watch Tagenarine play were far and few in between. On Saturday, he had a front-row seat.
This partnership, however, pales in comparison to the one they had in a 40-over club match for Gandhi Youth Organisation against Transport Sports Club in September 2012. Then, they had forged a match-winning, unbroken 256-run stand with Shivnarine hitting 143 and Tagenarine 112.
The similarities run deep. Both are lean-built, left-hand batsmen and bowl legspin. Both indulge in eerily similar pre-strike rituals, such as marking their guard by nailing the bail into the crease. Both are known for their anchor-like approach once at the crease. Both are reserved characters.
But, no, Tagenarine hasn’t taken after his father in his inimitable, crab-like batting stance.
Though his grandfather Khemraj initially taught Tagenarine the ropes, just as he had once done with Shivnarine, his father took over once he moved back home in 2009. Tagenarine made his first-class debut in 2013 and has 698 runs at 24.06 in 15 matches. Not terribly impressive, but it was in the 2014 Under-19 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates where the youngster truly shone.
Then 18, he was the fifth-highest run-getter of the tournament, and the second-highest for West Indies behind Nicholas Pooran, with 293 runs in six games at 58.60. His knocks of 84 not out against Zimbabwe and 93 against Canada gave West Indies crucial wins, while he also hit 112 against India in the fifth place playoff game, though it came in a losing cause.
There was talk that Shivnarine and Tagenarine might even become the first father-son duo to play international cricket together, but the former was nudged towards the exit by the West Indies selectors when they dropped him after the three-Test series at home against England in May 2015. Though Shivnarine harboured hopes of a comeback, he finally called it quits in January last year.
The desire to play cricket hasn’t been completely extinguished though, with Shivnarine continuing to turn out for Guyana in regional domestic games and alongside his son, to the delight of the local fans. The baton, it is safe to say, has been passed on.
A few other prominent father-son duos in first-class cricket
WG Grace, WG Grace Jr, Charles Grace
The legendary WG Grace had two sons that tried their hand at cricket, WG Grace Jr and Charles Grace. Charles played only four first-class games, all alongside his father. WG Grace Jr played 46 of 57 games with his father. Two of these games for London County in 1900 were truly a family affair, featuring all three.
Lebrun Constantine and Learie Constantine
Lebrun Constantine was a plantation foreman who toured England as an allrounder with the West Indian players of 1900 — where he scored the first hundred (113) for a West Indies team in England — and played 56 first-class games, but his son Learie became one of the game’s most exciting allrounders and was named Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 1940. It was in 1923 that they both played a match for Trinidad against British Guiana, and Lebrun is credited with instillingin Learie the value of excellent fielding.
George Gunn and George Vernon Gunn
George Gunn, who played 15 Tests for England, was often referred to as the greatest batsman who played for Nottinghamshire. The apple didn’t fall too far from the tree with his son, George Vernon Gunn, playing 266 first-class games, 377 matches shy of his father’s tally of 643. They played together on 34 occasions, but the 1931 game for Nottinghamshire against Warwickshire was particularly memorable. George Vernon hit 100 not out, his maiden century, and his 52-year-old father was right there with him, notching up 183 — possibly the only instance of father and son both hitting hundreds in the same match.
Lala Amarnath and Surinder Amarnath
Lala Amarnath hit India’s first Test century and went on to add several plumes to his cap as a selector, manager, coach and broadcaster. He also had three sons that played cricket: Rajinder, who played 36 first-class games; Mohinder, who played 69 Tests; and Surinder, who played 10 Tests. In 1963, when Maharashtra Chief Minister’s XI took on Maharashtra Governor’s XI in Poona in the fourth of five Defense Fund Matches organised during the Sino-Indian War, it pitted father against his youngest son. Lala, 52, played for Governor’s XI while Surinder, 15, played for Chief Minister’s XI and both made 40-plus scores.
Denis Streak and Heath Streak
Denis Streak was a seamer who played 14 first-class games while Heath, who also took to fast bowling, raised the bar higher, becoming the first of his countrymen to reach 100 Test wickets and reconnecting with the side as the coach. In 1996, Denis came back to first-class cricket after an 11-year hiatus and bowled alongside Heath as Matabeleland beat Mashonaland Country Districts to win the Lonrho Logan Cup.