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Saturday, April 21, 2007

Thank you, Lara

'It was a joy to watch Lara bat.'

Nothing else mattered more, or counted for more. Not his world-record 365, and not his world-record 400. Not even the mammoth 32,000 runs he piled up in international cricket. Nor his 501. These are mere numbers, and unlike Don, for whom I need to factor in the 99.94 to understand the man's greatness, I don't need those crutches for Brian Lara.

Lara, I have seen him both batting and battling, both his opponents and team mates. I watched him stand against the might of Australia, all alone, well almost - he had Courtney Walsh for support, and not with the ball, but a bat. Still, he came out triumphant. I saw him handling the wiles of Muralitharan on the spinning Lankan tracks. Three tests - of cricket, of patience, of skills and Brian came out trumps every single time. Yet, he had no reason to smile - every one of the 3 times. If you didn't follow Lara, as I didn't Don, let me give you the crutches: In that 2001-02 series, Brian Lara scored 688 runs in a 3 test series and yet ended up on the losing side every time. The remaining team put together scored just about 200 more than what Lara added single-handedly.

But it was a joy to watch Brian Lara bat - even as the great West Indies team of the 70s and the early 80s sunk further down, Lara still gave one reason to every cricket fan to come and watch West Indies play. Because, once Lara walked into the centre and wielded his willow, you forgot everything else - the gloom and the despair were dispersed, even if temporarily. While Lara batted, there was hope. While Lara batted, a victory was possible. While Lara batted, the old man in the stands in Antigua smiled, again. While Lara batted, the pride and honour of West Indian cricket was momentarily restored.

While Lara batted, cricket looked beautiful.

Thank you, Brian Lara for all those wonderful moments, and more.

1 comment:

The Temptress said...

I have followed his career for the last 13 years and I must say nobody has left an indelible mark in my memory except Lara. Maybe the time was right for him to call it a day to avoid humiliation, but he will be missed.