Proving his adeptness with the mike as he does with the willow during an interactive session got up by the ING Vysya Bank as its Brand Ambassador here last night, the 37-year-old Windies skipper said Sachin was one of the finest players he had ever seen.
''He is one of the greatest the game has ever seen. It's not only me, even the entire cricketing fraternity looks up to him,'' Lara said about the Indian maestro. ''Inspite of all the pressure, the way he handles himself is amazing,'' Lara averred.
The moment Lara took guard, he handled the questions with finesse, just like he dances down against the spinners and like driving and cutting the medium-pacers.
There was never a dull moment right through the nearly one hour show at the team hotel.
On his special bonding with him, Lara said, ''We get along very well. Even on the flight from Cuttack to Chennai, I sat next to him discussing about the future.'' The prince of world cricket did not deem it right to say who is the king. With a middle name as his, one would not have expected Lara to say that India is the home of cricket.
He was momentarily bowled over when asked what was the secret of West Indies producing quality left-handers right from the time of Gary Sobers to the present Chanderpaul and Chris Gayle.
After a brief smile, pat came the reply ''possibly because we drive on the left hand side of the road. Yes, the consistency has been there over the years.'' Lara placed his 153 (against Australia at Barbados) ahead of his other record smashing ones and said ''it changed his career graph.
If getting into the Wisden ratings (for the knock) was a great feeling, helping the team win from a point of despair was a greater one,'' he added.
Lara kept the audience spellbound with his replies when he quipped ''very tired'' when a young boy asked him how he felt after scoring 400 against England in a Test match.
'India-WI WC final will be delight'Observing that more than 50 per cent of the people in the Caribbean were Indians, West Indies Skipper Brian Lara said an India-West Indies World Cup final will be the icing on the cake for the cricket fans of both the countries.
The West Indies skipper said both the teams had been playing so much cricket in the past eight to ten months.
''It will be special if both teams reached the finals of the World Cup to be held in my country,'' he added.
''One cannot expect a better final than India and West Indies. It becomes all the more special because more than 50 per cent of the people in the Caribbean Islands are Indians,'' he said.