World Cup 2007 December 15, 2006

My head says Pakistan, my heart says Lara

The question that nobody will ever be able to answer is just how brilliant Lara might have been had he had a half decent team to support him?

Pakistan will tomorrow bid farewell to arguably the greatest batsman of this era. Brian Lara arrived in the early 1990s as the mighty West Indian dynasty folded. Through his genius and that of Curtly Ambrose and Courtney Walsh, West Indian cricket continued to be a force for the rest of that decade.

The question that nobody will ever be able to answer is just how brilliant Lara might have been had he had a half decent team to support him? My guess is that he would have been unstoppable. And for much of his career he threatened to be, particularly in the days when individual batting records were falling to him with ease. But the hopping maestro from Trinidad has not just been a man for records. He has saved his country on numerous occasions against the best teams.

From the beginning Lara has had a particular liking for Pakistan. In the 1992 World Cup he destroyed Imran's team with an effortless dominance, a harbinger of the coiled beauty that he would unleash on all nations.

As with all heroes, he has divided opinion in his homeland but elsewhere his genius has been unequivocally acclaimed. The love for Lara has been evident in the Champions Trophy and now this West Indian tour of Pakistan. And Lara has responded like a true great, handling the fortunes of his team with immense wisdom, dexterity, and sportsmanship.

Some readers of this blog, including Mr Euceph Ahmed who generally enjoys disagreeing with every word I write, have requested a piece on Lara. We should all give Lara the send off he deserves, and I have no doubt that the Karachi crowd will not be found wanting.

This may be a World Cup year and a winning finale would be nice for Pakistan. But it would be equally heart-warming to see the last piece of Lara magic on Pakistani soil. For this match only, my head says Pakistan but my heart says Lara.

Kamran Abbasi is an editor, writer and broadcaster. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • testli5504537 on May 11, 2010, 1:45 GMT

    Truly nice article u got here. I'd like to read something more concerning this theme. Thnx for posting that data.

  • testli5504537 on March 1, 2007, 1:38 GMT

    I have never seen a finer batsman than Brian Lara. More than his strokeplay and improvisation it has been his mental fortitude that has made him unplayable. We should all celebrate his achievements for there will never be another player quite like him. Best luck to him in the world cup.

  • testli5504537 on January 10, 2007, 15:08 GMT

    ya its right that lara is the best test batsman after bradman.....but cricket is always not about test cricket.There is one day cricket and Tendulkar is the god of one day cricket. Lara is no way even near.One can look at every thing he/she wants averages, strike rates, centuries, run, wickets any thing. And by the way sachin was bowled lara out. yups tendulkar has blown the stumps while lara was batting. But lara had no such privilage. And if u look at both the version than the overall best would be no doubt tendulkar. One day he is going to hit century of centuries.

  • testli5504537 on January 8, 2007, 22:16 GMT

    Once again, shashank, you've given an excuse, not a reason, for why ponting is now so good...have you thought that maybe after 8 years he has now peaked...stand back and admire his clinical displays.

  • testli5504537 on January 3, 2007, 17:33 GMT

    If Lara were an Australian or English he would be the greatest thing since sliced bread. To me Lara is not only the best in terms of performance but also in terms of talent and the one who has evoked emotions that cannot compare, both when he's on song as well as when he's given out!!!

  • testli5504537 on December 22, 2006, 7:59 GMT

    lara, then tendulkar ,then a gap and well,then fill in whoever you want.between lara and tendulkar there is eyecontact, the rest of their times can only crane their necks and admire.even within that elite club of greats, geniuses stand out, so do lara and sachin like sobers and richards.lara is ahead of sachin for me and i dont want to obscure my choice with reason ,for there is none forceful enough to explain the depth of my loyalty to lara.i have took on entire schoolbuses,entire classrooms in support of him in a country full of sachin fans.dhoni and i share the same school but i felt like slapping mahi when he refused to accept lara's request to walk in an odi in wi. ponting ponting PONTING. i am sick of his media driven elevation to the pedestal of lara and sachin.hear my point. ponting began his career in 94,was a good batsman for nearly 8 years of his career who could not play spin(can he now?).since 2002 he has been piling the runs.i find something truly instructive in his career the better bowlers are fading and after the best ones left,ponting has become better than lara and sachin who peaked when the bowling was better and even now are above the level of pre2002 ponting.needless to add they can play spin. lara can murder spinners and tendulkar destroyed warne's bid for unparalleled greatness without shedding sweat.contrast this with ponting who played harbhajan as if weighed down by lead.

  • testli5504537 on December 20, 2006, 11:52 GMT

    i wonder who will be termed the next brian charles lara....he is such a legend and his style and legacy will be remembered in golden words in history

  • testli5504537 on December 20, 2006, 7:11 GMT

    About Lara not good enough again Quality Pace bowling.... what about his very first match in the 1992 WC... he got a great 90 against a whirly wild Wasim Akram.. then in the 92/93 test matches against pak, he did play against 2Ws and scored few 90s if my memory serves me right.. Only time he played badly against the 2WS was when his mind was not set on cricket.. and he wanted the captaincy which wasn't given to him on that PAK tour... right guys?

  • testli5504537 on December 20, 2006, 2:49 GMT

    Lara is the # 1 in the world .If He had the same # of NOT OUTS like Borda , Steve wa, & companies [20/30 times ]Lara would be in a catagory by himself& his avrage would well be in the mid 80`s / 90`s .And if U ckeck the amount of times he was given out by wrong decisions,he would be avraging 100.If U ask Muri, Warnie, Mc Grath,BretLee,etc.. they `ll tell U who`s the most distructive batsman that comes to mind "brian Lara. U set the field & he`ll pick the gap . Such a MISTRO is he .U come to me 100/hr ,i`ll deliver the goods even faster than the CONCORD.

  • testli5504537 on December 19, 2006, 22:05 GMT

    by the way, who played waqar and wasim comprehensively when they were at their prime????

  • No featured comments at the moment.