हिन्दीಕನ್ನಡമലയാളംதமிழ்తెలుగు

Lara - a team man to the core

Written by: Sajith Balakrishnan
Published: Sunday, August 3, 2003, 16:05 [IST]
 
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Bangalore: 'Prince of Trinidad', the magician with the bat, needs no introduction. Brian Lara 'the West Indian cricketer of the year' for his outstanding contribution to the game is right back into his groove. Ever since he burst into the international scene against Pakistan in 1989, as tipped, he has proved to be the natural successor of Sir Garfield Sobers and it was no surprise when he obliterated the record of the legend. It certainly was a poetic justice when Sobers himself came on to the pitch to congratulate the batting colossus on his accomplishment. Sir Vivian Richards spotted the talent of Lara when he was playing in the junior and 'A' teams. But it took one mercurial knock of 277 against the likes of McDermott, Hughes & Co at SCG for the world to notice him. Yes, it was then that the Bangalore: 'Prince of Trinidad', the magician with the bat, needs no introduction. Brian Lara 'the West Indian cricketer of the year' for his outstanding contribution to the game is right back into his groove.

Prince of Trinidad - Brian Lara Ever since he burst into the international scene against Pakistan in 1989, as tipped, he has proved to be the natural successor of Sir Garfield Sobers and it was no surprise when he obliterated the record of the legend. It certainly was a poetic justice when Sobers himself came on to the pitch to congratulate the batting colossus on his accomplishment.

Sir Vivian Richards spotted the talent of Lara when he was playing in the junior and 'A' teams. But it took one mercurial knock of 277 against the likes of McDermott, Hughes & Co at SCG for the world to notice him.

Yes, it was then that the Prince marked his arrival. He then went on with a record- breaking spree that included - the individual batting records for Test matches and first class matches with scores of 375 and 501 respectively. But as fame caught up with him, he got carried away by the media attention and hype.

His commitment and attitude was questioned. It was at that time that Caribbean cricket was on the wane with more emphasis on the basketball and beach volley. Critics found a scapegoat in Lara, but he didn't bother to respond verbally, but preferred to let his bat do the talking.

His first tryst with captaincy was when he deputed Courtney Walsh in the Test against India, were he succeeded in defending a moderate total. Soon the inevitable happened, the mantle of captaincy falling on him in quick time. Despite a modest success, he met his waterloo in South Africa where his team received a severe drubbing and was white washed.

He was put on a trial in the following series against Australia. But the battle against Kangaroos and his nemesis McGrath got the best out of him. His match winning knocks of 153 and 213 in the second and third Tests after being bundled out for a paltry 51 in the first Test was nothing less than Calypso Crusade.

His honeymoon with the captaincy finally ended in the Kiwiland where the Windies were bulldozed again.

Whenever his commitment towards the game drew flak he responded valiantly. One such instance was his triumph in the battle against spin wizard Muralitharan in Sri Lanka in 2001.

Unfortunately, when he was in prime form fate had its own say. He met with a bizarre accident on the field when he collided with Marvan Atapattu while taking a run.

After missing the Pakistan series, which was played at the neutral venue (Sharjah), Lara had a very modest series Indians and Kiwis in the home series.

Yet again fate struck Lara during the ICC mini World Cup at Sri Lanka when he was down with Hepatitis, which laid him off the game for almost six months. His illness forced him to skip Windies tour of India.

His next outing happened only in the inaugural match of World Cup. A match-winning ton against the hosts Proteas again showed a vintage Lara.

When the Aussies were back in the Caribbean the selectors handed over the captaincy to Lara, for they knew he had the fire in his belly to motivate a relatively young side. Even though, Windies lost the series, Lara scored a maiden ton at his home ground and the pinnacle of glory came when the Windies successfully chased a record 418 to set up a historic win against rampaging Aussies.

Always know for his honesty, the sight of him walking without waiting for the dreaded finger of the umpire when on 91 at a decisive stage of the Mohali Test against India in 1996 showed the magnanimity of Lara.

Lara has always been a team man to the core and a 'talking' captain. On numerous occasions he has come to the rescue of his younger partners when they were at the receiving end of sledging.

Unlike his disastrous stint with captaincy the first time, he is firmly on the saddle this time. With a pool of youngsters like Sarwan, Samuels and Banks at his disposal, he has become a true leader.

In a recent interview, he said, "I am still in love with cricket and want to continue playing at least till the 2007 World Cup in the Caribbean." Which is a good sign and a warning note for the bowlers. Beware! The Trinidad Prince is back. Prince marked his arrival. He then went on with a record- breaking spree that included - the individual batting records for Test matches and first class matches with scores of 375 and 501 respectively. But as fame caught up with him, he got carried away by the media attention and hype. His commitment and attitude was questioned. It was at that time that Caribbean cricket was on the wane with more emphasis on the basketball and beach volley. Critics found a scapegoat in Lara, but he didn't bother to respond verbally, but preferred to let his bat do the talking. His first tryst with captaincy was when he deputed Courtney Walsh in the Test against India, were he succeeded in defending a moderate total. Soon the inevitable happened, the mantle of captaincy falling on him in quick time. Despite a modest success, he met his waterloo in South Africa where his team received a severe drubbing and was white washed. He was put on a trial in the following series against Australia. But the battle against Kangaroos and his nemesis McGrath got the best out of him. His match winning knocks of 153 and 213 in the second and third Tests after being bundled out for a paltry 51 in the first Test was nothing less than Calypso Crusade. His honeymoon with the captaincy finally ended in the Kiwiland where the Windies were bulldozed again. Whenever his commitment towards the game drew flak he responded valiantly. One such instance was his triumph in the battle against spin wizard Muralitharan in Sri Lanka in 2001. Unfortunately, when he was in prime form fate had its own say. He met with a bizarre accident on the field when he collided with Marvan Atapattu while taking a run. After missing the Pakistan series, which was played at the neutral venue (Sharjah), Lara had a very modest series Indians and Kiwis in the home series. Yet again fate struck Lara during the ICC mini World Cup at Sri Lanka when he was down with Hepatitis, which laid him off the game for almost six months. His illness forced him to skip Windies tour of India. His next outing happened only in the inaugural match of World Cup. A match-winning ton against the hosts Proteas again showed a vintage Lara. When the Aussies were back in the Caribbean the selectors handed over the captaincy to Lara, for they knew he had the fire in his belly to motivate a relatively young side. Even though, Windies lost the series, Lara scored a maiden ton at his home ground and the pinnacle of glory came when the Windies successfully chased a record 418 to set up a historic win against rampaging Aussies. Always know for his honesty, the sight of him walking without waiting for the dreaded finger of the umpire when on 91 at a decisive stage of the Mohali Test against India in 1996 showed the magnanimity of Lara. Lara has always been a team man to the core and a 'talking' captain. On numerous occasions he has come to the rescue of his younger partners when they were at the receiving end of sledging. Unlike his disastrous stint with captaincy the first time, he is firmly on the saddle this time. With a pool of youngsters like Sarwan, Samuels and Banks at his disposal, he has become a true leader. In a recent interview, he said, "I am still in love with cricket and want to continue playing at least till the 2007 World Cup in the Caribbean." Which is a good sign and a warning note for the bowlers. Beware! The Trinidad Prince is back.

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