Nanan: A Victim of Timing


Timing, it's so crucial in success yet something that remains outside of one's control. Take Brian Lara. Undoubtedly, the greatest West Indian of his generation and arguably the greatest batsman that ever lived. Yet, despite his double record scores of 400* and 501* he stll held the record for most Test defeats upon retirement, one recently surpassed by his teammmate for most of those Shiv Chanderpaul. This was due to them being part of the decline of West Indies cricket and possibly the weakest West Indies teams in the history of the game.

The same with Cristiano Ronaldo. His scoring rate would have been seen as impossible a decade ago ( more than fifty goals a season, in the past five seasons!). However, his timing has coincided with Lionel Messi who has sixty goals a season and seventy goals a season to go along with his plus fifty seasons. Thus, C. Ronaldo's exploits are overshadowed.

Rangy Nanan had a similar problem. For nearly two decades he was the pre-eminent spinner in regional first class cricket but could only manage a single test appearance for the West Indies. This was all because he was unlucky enough to be at his best while the West Indies were also at their world dominating best powered by a four pronged pace attack. Nanan's sole Test Match came during a tour of Pakistan in 1980/81 due to injury to Michael Holding. He managed to grab four wickets in the game and also topped the bowling averages for the tour (finishing with 18 wickets at 16.17 from the first class games on the tour). However, it was not enough to earn him another game.

Nanan passed yesterday at the relatively young age of 62 after his second stroke. Despite his unlucky timing as regards to a West Indian career his first class heroics for Trinidad and Tobago makes him possibly the country's greatest spinner ever, with apologies to Sonny Ramadhin. Nanan led T&T to it's sole regional title during the eighties and kept the country as a force despite having limited representation on the West Indies team during that era. That title would remain our only championship until the Daren Ganga led "Cinderella" team in the noughties. Nanan also heralded an unbroken line of match-winning spinners from the twin isle including Rajendra Dhanraj, Dinanath Ramnarine, Dave Mohammed and lately Sunil Narine and Samuel Badree that seemingly all could have staked a claim for West Indies greatness if not for the "pace comes first" policy that became ingrained during the eighties.

In an interview with Vaniesha Baksh, Nanan lamented  "If Shane Warne was living in the West Indies nobody would have heard of him. It took 15 Tests before he made any breakthrough." It says a lot about timing "down under".

Rangy Nanan will always be remembered as a great spinner for T&T and his contribution to the game locally. Sadly, his legacy to the international game could have been so much more if not for that thing called "timing"


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