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Lara on Tendulkar's trail

Written by: Mamatha Maben
Published: Thursday, June 26, 2003, 15:27 [IST]
 
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Bangalore: The debate over the number one batsman in the world, I suppose, is a topic for all seasons and is a discussion that keeps popping up every now and then. After his stunning display in the World Cup Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar, one thought, had left his competitors far behind. However, it seems like Brian Charles Lara is in no mood to let go and is pushing his way back to the top with top-notch performances time & again. Lara has been in the thick of things for quite a while now and if not for the elbow injury and his sickness he may well have established himself as the 'Numero Uno'. Nevertheless, Lara it seems, is pretty determined to fight his odds on his way back to the top.

It would be grossly unfair to draw a comparison between the two. Having said that, drawing a comparison with the Master himself - Sachin Tendulkar - it must be said that Lara and Tendulkar are two batsmen with contrasting styles of play.

Tendulkar comes across as somebody who is technically solid with great footwork, fantastic hand-eye co-ordination and power-packed strokes while Lara is more a 'touch, class & grace' player blessed with an equally brilliant eye.

However, what gives Tendulkar the edge is his unquenchable hunger for runs, runs and more runs while Lara's bane has been his indifferent approach to the game. But it seems like he is more than determined to make up for those indifferent years.

Notwithstanding the differences, one thing is certain. When both Tendulkar and Lara are at the crease expectations soar. The crowds throng and there is a buzz in the air.

Lara is simply magical while Tendulkar is out of this world. Lara is breathtaking while Tendulkar is awesome. The air is clogged with superlatives when Lara is at the crease while when Tendulkar is at the crease he is beyond words.

So comparisons as to who is better or who is the best are, in my opinion, a futile exercise as both, though different, are highly entertaining and highly effective. Lara has championed the cause of his team and so has Tendulkar.

Statistics may put Tendulkar at the top but Lara is not far behind. And if he continues in the same vein Tendulkar will have no choice but to raise the bar further up and set his own standards.

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