Friday, 20 April 2007

Lara's Magic Will Be Missed

image courtesy

West Indies redeemed some of their lost pride. It was not the most clinical performance, yet effective enough to dispose of a side that has proved to be very tricky at times. With nothing in stake in terms of progress in the tournament I personally expected the hosts to be a lot more positive with their batting.

Chris Gayle's failure at the top continues to be the biggest undoing for the West Indians. Now, Brian Lara having hung up his boots for good, the onus will be on the trio of Sarwan, Chanderpaul and Gayle to take their side to the next level. If there was a singular contributor to the West Indies’ dismal performance in this World Cup it was the lack of runs from Gayle's blade.

The news obviously did not hinge around the 99-run win for Lara and his men, but the legend's decision to quit all forms of the game. It is not going to take a great cricketing brain to say the Trinidadian had at least two more seasons as a Test batsman. But this is not the time to talk about what would have happened if Lara had continued. The great batsman has left followers some rich footage to feast on.

His contributions have been great, but to me three things stand out. The first thing that comes to my memory is the unbeaten 153 against Australia at home, where he carried the team home in the company of Ambrose, and later Walsh, in what was later described as one of the greatest Test innings ever played.

The 700-odd runs he scored in Sri Lanka against Muralitharan who was at the peak of his prowess, then; other batsmen found his magic as tough as nuclear physics. That, to me, was one of the best exhibitions of stroke play against quality spin. They way Lara used his feet to counter flight was an education.

The last, but not least, was his endurance and his engrossment with tall scores. For a man who was small-built, the time he spent at the crease was simply amazing and here is one cricketer who fully deserves all the records he holds. Engaged in constant comparison with Sachin Tendulkar throughout his career, I feel Lara stood an inch tall over the Mumbaikar because of his ability to dominate attacks.

The call to quit is probably an emotional one after former greats of West Indies cricket and the media did not take the host’s ouster from the World Cup lightly. But let us all understand he has achieved enough to call it quits on his own terms. However grainy the tapes get, Brian Charles Lara will always remain green in the mind’s eye of both the connoisseur as well as the casual follower.

Moving over to the World Cup: Australia face another challenge in the form of New Zealand today. The world champs have peaked well and playing Sri Lanka and the Kiwis at the fag end of the super eight will actually work to their advantage as they would exactly know what to do against them if they have to meet them in the summit clash.


Sridinats said...

Lara will definitely be missed!!
You can read more about my views on Lara's retirement at-:

Satz said...

Hey Krish....Accolades to Lara for the sheer entertainment...He became one of my most favourite batsman ,the day I saw him flick a good length rising delivery of Craig Mcdermott in mid air with his feet at least two feet above the ground to the square leg boundary ....A gentleman sports person,had his share of controversies..But overall a complete entertainer with his bat & an absolute master in that..His bat speed is legendary & I guess even Sachin due to his wane period over last few years has not been able to stamp his authority on the game as he has done...AdiĆ³s & Good luck to him...May he showcase to the world his mastery by going out with a hundred or at least a typical fifty...Now that would be a deserving send off..Cheers

Kalyan said...

Krish, I'll miss him for sure as other cricket fans.Without Lara West Indies is a lot emptier place. Lara Fare Well

May be We will see him as coach one day probably to WI team in bringing their past glory back.

Coimbatore said...

Shear presence of Lara in the field has trilled many watching cricket. We are going to miss Lara. Lara is one of the rare gems in the game of cricket.

Aswin Kini said...

The Game has truly lost a legend and a great entertainer. When we compare the best batsman of the 1990's Sachin, Lara, and Aravinda De Silva came to my mind. If Sachin and Lara are to be compared,i would choose Lara for the sheer reason that he played much more attacking shots and really dominated the opposition consistently thoughout his career. While Sachin dominated attacks till 2003and has been on the decline ever since.