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?
94

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

  • Charlotte FunnyGuy 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.

  • Hugh C 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.

  • Himanshu Dobhal 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.

  • Jag 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.

  • A True Cricket Admirer 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!!!

  • shashank 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 trajectory.as 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.

  • farooq 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

  • eram saber 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?

  • rashaad Ali 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.

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

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

  • Charlotte FunnyGuy 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.

  • Hugh C 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.

  • Himanshu Dobhal 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.

  • Jag 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.

  • A True Cricket Admirer 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!!!

  • shashank 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 trajectory.as 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.

  • farooq 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

  • eram saber 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?

  • rashaad Ali 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.

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

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

  • Nick Naylor on December 19, 2006, 20:56 GMT

    Response to Arslan Shaukat.

    To say that Sachin did not play match winning innings because you could not notice it,or you conveniently ignore it is cruel injustice to the great man. Remember back to back hundreds against aussies in sharjah where he single handedly won the cup for India.Remember Chennai test against Aussies where he scored 155* against Warne and co.Or the magnificent hundred in perth while he was 16 years of age.Remember the world cup 2003 where he was the top scorer, have you forgot innings against pakistan at centurion, I hope it does fit into your bracket of "match winning innings" because if it does not, than nothing can.In tests alone 193 at headingley,241* at sydney(Which India could have easily won if Bucknor had not officiated that match) deserve mention for the effort in winning or drawing a match.

    Anyone can make a genius look mortal by ignoring facts or with false statements.Its not sachin's fault that other team mates could not finish off a game which he set up.I am not contending here that Sachin is greater than Lara, just that prejudiced mind cannot be objective.

    If Lara could not perform in late 90's because of personal reasons,then it is for his own doing and he himself is accountable for that.It also reveals that Lara's mental strength was not up to the mark at that time,that he could not control himself.If ever there was a great batsman who was self-indulgent, it is Brian Lara.Ask Darren Ganga. Also note that there are no international matches in which Sachin does not go with pressure to accompany him.One billion people after all.Chennai test against pakistan in which he scored 136 under immense pressure as well as excruciating back pain is a testament to his committment and mental strength.Again it was not his fault that rest of the batsman did not score 15 odd runs to win.

    Were 375 and 400 match winning ones? playing in a dead match in a dead rubber knowing that you cannot produce a result on such a wicket can give you such a pressure relief that I am not surprised he got to 400.Can you describe that innings as meaningful except for being played for record books?One has to understand that to be within realms of team spirit and team cause sometimes players have to work away with flamboyance.I am not saying that lara is not a great player,simply that tendulkar's lack of 300 or 400 has more to do with the circumstances than his skill and application.If it all boiled down to Lara and Tendulkar, who would you bet on when facing quality boling on helpful conditions for bowlers, the technically solid, yet beautiful to watch tendulkar or flamboyant and sometimes reckless Lara?

  • Vish on December 19, 2006, 20:02 GMT

    @stefan Its not entirely accurate to negate comment that bowlers of last 20 yrs hold sachin as the best.Except for murali, many other contemporary players have gone out to say that sachin is the best.Glenn Mc Grath said it, Warne said it,Donald said it,Steve waugh and Gilchrist have said it. Now you wouldnt expect so many people who are truly great in their trades to say so without (cricketing)reasons. Lara is great,Tendulkar is on par if not better.Consider the sheer pressure he has to face everytime he goes into bat, consider that he had no private life in his home country, also consider that he never let himself down on a cricket field.While Lara has a few great moments like 400 and highest test runs to his name, Sachin has always been consistent.Anyone can talk great about players when they are in touch, true color and mental strength of a player is revealed only in tough times.While Lara had towering highs and abysmal lows, tendulkar's career before injury was almost always consistent. Also if you compare tendulkar and lara after removing the performances on lifeless tracks,I dont think Lara scores better,infact his technical weaknesses are exposed.Glenn Mcgrath exposed it in australia.When people say that Lara is better than Tendulkar that is invariably based on test performances while conveniently forgetting sachin's awesome record in the onedayers. Lara is good to watch no doubt,but to judge a batsman as great,many would agree that there are more than one criteria,technique,skill,aesthetics,pressure, performances and consistency.The race between Lara and sachin is on but sachin has few more years to play than lar,only after completion of the careers, we can know who edged out who.

  • muneer on December 19, 2006, 19:58 GMT

    How do you start and How do you Finish When Talk About The Brilliant Lara?i was very young when i saw Lara socring 277 against the aussie. I still have that paper cutting with me. i've seen Jayasuria smashing all the bowlers all over tha park, But i never seen anyone else who sweetly assaults bowlers as Lara does.And the way he retained the record of top scorer in 6 months proves that if he had batting side his avergae would have been easily around 70. he has his own style and i think no one on this century can copy his style. He is the Brillian Test Batsmen i ever seen with all the respect to Sir Viv Richards.

  • A Proud Paki on December 19, 2006, 19:09 GMT

    Lara definitely is great and there is no question about it. He is not only a great player but also a great human being.

  • mudassar on December 19, 2006, 14:53 GMT

    lara is simply the best... its hard to compare eras and teams, but my god!!! what would have lara achieved if he had two or three consistant batsmen around him? my guess is that he would have been unarguably the greatest of all time.. ponting makes runs because he dos'nt have to worry too much about failing, if he does fail he knows he has batsmen capable of putting up a score. also he gets alot of chances. if he makes a hundred it must have two or three chances. thats where lara stands out.. throughout his career he has had a torrid time with the umpires and still he has such a great record taking all into account. had he not gone through a patch where he did not score a test hundred for two years, he would have been in front in the most centuries. but you cant fault a man for that.. he became great at a tender age and fame got to him in a big way. i think he would have been a much better player had he not broken the world record (375) at the time he did. but all in all he is the best. records are meant to be broken, but class stays around forever. thats what lara is pure class, a genius. all kudos to tendulkar too, he is pretty good when he is on song... too bad he's going through a tough patch at this time, but he'll be back. as for ponting, you're too much of a basher and it dosent look too good either, plus too much chances. inzamam is a great batsman, when on song he'll tear you apart, great sight for your eyes. but when he's out of form.. its really bad dravid is suited for the lineup india has. someone who hangs around when the others go for the runs. no someone worth watching but very effective. kallis is too slow, he bats everytime for his personal gain.. bradman, with his record is the greatest, but it would have been nice to see someone with the talent and class of lara in his era and see what he comes up with.. conclusion: lara is the best, sachin ponting following

  • zulfiqar ali on December 19, 2006, 12:52 GMT

    a left hander with back and across technique who somw time even expose his leg stump, the record and statistics of lara is amazing. it must be the hand/eye coordination plus the ability to pick the length early which help in coming this far. he is a true camp. who has taken the batting to a new level.i have watched him only on t.v and i always considered lara'feet movement suspacted but he always proved me wrong by hitting the fastest of bowler across the line of the ball.some time i feel that my cricket knowldge is limited or my obsarvation is faulty becouse very few time this glaring (to me atleast)shorcoming of lara has been poited out by the experts.anyhow his record speaks for him and above all the pleasure he has passed on to cricket fans all over the world makes him the legend of modern cricket.

  • Zahir on December 19, 2006, 10:45 GMT

    Afridi must be a big NO-NO for the world cup. He has performed abysmally when given numerous opportunities this year and we have enough bits and pieces cricketers without including another one. He seems to be a favourite though and will gain a place anyway which will be a travesty. What kind of message will that give to the more deserving candidates who are performing?? A quick 10-15 over 5 balls and a six here and there is not good enough and he has made a career out of this??? Its boggling!!. We need to find spots for naved and rehman in the starting 11 as they are genuine matchwinners.

  • Hugh on December 19, 2006, 2:28 GMT

    comparison is usually invidious, but in this case one can express a subjective viewpoint..Lara, like Sobers,(similar style)and Viv,is inimitable..Such sweet unorthodoxy..so rare. As a West Indian Iam just proud of such genius.

  • Mohammad Nawaz Janjua on December 17, 2006, 11:13 GMT

    Yes, I agree no doubt Lara is the greatest player of this era and one of the all time greats in the history of cricket. The most important thing which inspires me to like him, along with cricket, that he is very cool, all smiling and fells like a very helping personality for others. He looks like a real nobel character which could be presented as a role model, in all respects, for the game of lords (cricket). He is a real sportsman. He played the best cricket for his nation and laid an example to follow in the cricket history. I wish you all the best Sir Lara !

  • Never will he be forgotten.... on December 17, 2006, 9:39 GMT

    Im Australian,and I am a cricket tragic.It wasnt until 10 years ago,I sat down to watch West Indies vs Australia in the 1996 world cup.The first wicket fell,and from that moment,a moment which has changed my life.From then on and now and forever I will be a Brian Lara tragic.Every time I have watched him bat live,or at home on the Tv,I have gotten incredibly nervous.nervous because Ive always wanted him to show the world,the genius that he's always been.A genius that when in form,is crickets version of poetry in motion.Ponting,Tendulkar,Kallis,Yousuf.Never come close to this man.With out you Brian,Cricket would be a dull game.Thanks.

  • Suhaib Jalis Ahmed on December 17, 2006, 5:52 GMT

    Lara is perhaps the most enjoyable batsman ever. The way he plays is just awesome. I am sad that this is perhaps the last time he plays in Pakistan. I dont think that any foreign batsman is loved in Paksitan as much as Lara is.

    We tend to overlook the greatness of Lara as a human... he is one of the few 'walkers'... he has played most of his life trying to put respectability to Windie scores. He is one of the greatest ambassadors of the game.

    If cricket would be as popular as basketball in the US or soccer is in the world, Brian Lara would be on of the most famous men on earth.

    Any person who does not accept this man's greatness is simply running away from the truth...

  • Noman Yousuf on December 16, 2006, 22:42 GMT

    LARA, the man, the legend! There are no words in dictionary of any language to decribe the maestro's legacy. He's simply the best! After Pakistan, if I want any team to win the World Cup, it's "Brian Lara's" West Indies. All cheer for the great man, "Lara, Lara, Lara..."

  • Talal on December 16, 2006, 19:26 GMT

    an interesting article. I have seen both lara and tendulkar live and the way these 2 time the ball is just incredible. But it would be interesting to see lara play in the windies 80's team or in this present day aus team. I would like to see how some one like ponting would cope in the windies team. Would ponting be as good if he were in the windies/bangladesh team?

  • Euceph Ahmed on December 16, 2006, 17:17 GMT

    Thank you Kamran, and Thank you Brian Lara. All I want to say is that I feel fortunate to have witnessed Lara's artistry. What joy will it be to tell my grandchildren that I lived when Lara played.

  • Syed Naumanuddin Hassan on December 16, 2006, 17:15 GMT

    Brian Charles Lara, unarguably a mesmerizing name that every enthusiast admires. Lara with a unique technique that defies the laws of Biomechanics has shattered enormous records. I regard Lara more superior to the Tendulkars or Pontings because there have been several occasions where sole brilliance of Lara that motored the West Indies. He conquered the art of Murlitharan in own home grounds where as others are still puzzled! I can write on and on about Lara but one thing is for sure, the cricket world will miss the Prince of the Caribbean!

  • Zahra on December 16, 2006, 11:05 GMT

    Why does everyone, seems to just love Lara? What is the connection between the Pakistani and Windies team?

    why even the players in the ground seems to have a great time with this team.

    Why is there some kind of satisfaction if Lara makes a 100 against Pakistan.

    Why not for the other team like NewZeas, SriLanka, or SAF? prety stange?

  • jadogar-spin on December 16, 2006, 5:52 GMT

    Hey, he's not dead yet, just leaving Pakistan! Stop writing Lara's obituary.

  • True Lara fan on December 16, 2006, 2:36 GMT

    simply the best !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • abdullah on December 15, 2006, 21:42 GMT

    brilliant brilliant batsment.. sheer poetery in motion when he bats.. just ask danish kaneria, murali or any of the other hundred bowlers he has decimated over the years..

  • Gavin on December 15, 2006, 21:34 GMT

    This response is for Gary and all the others who want to water down the performances of this great man. 22 people compete in a game of cricket but would you be on the edge of your seat watching all of them ,i really dont think so .Lara has had his problems in the past but who hasn't, greatness cannot be hidden and the problems associated with a great player in any sport will never go un - noticed. How many players have played through the Lara , Tendulkar, Kallis and Ponting Era : countless but we still single out a few and debate their ability for various reasons. I will say this and even the harshest Brian Lara critic will agree : No other player from a touring team has been admired by the fans than Brian Lara. If being consistent and technically correct were the criterias for grading a batsman ,then Dravid would win hands down. Why I say this is entertainment and no other batsman entertains a crowd as Brian Lara. Its hard to be unbiased when rating players, I come from the Caribbean which was once the school for producing great fast bowlers and the best fast bowler I have ever seen is Wasim Akram ( note the best I have ever seen ) everybody is entitled to there own opinion but ask anybody drom a non cricket playing nation why they dont like cricket, they would say its boring . If we had a Brian Charles Lara on every test playing nation in the world we would have arguably the most exciting sport in the world. You dont have to agree but ask anyone who loves to be entertained to choose a match to attend involving any of the three persons being named Lara, Ponting or Tendulkar when they are all in prime form and ask them who they want to see bat.

    I dont think any other batsman has captivated the hearts of the spectators than Brian Lara, ask any body in Australia earlier this year when he played his last test there and ask anybody in Pakistan tonight, you can all argue all you want to but please remeber the career of Brian Lara is coming to an end and I promise you that you will all miss his Brilliance. Thanks Lara. Your thrilling shots and dismay at destroying the best bowlers in the world, you will never be forgotten

  • Mohammad Ali Dada on December 15, 2006, 21:08 GMT

    With all due respect to Lara, my heart and mind both say Inzamam. I think we are forgetting that this might also be the last time we see Inzamam play in Pakistan.

  • Shoeb Reaz Alam on December 15, 2006, 21:04 GMT

    Lara certainly the best batsman around, but he is the one who is responsible for the decline of W Indies. He destroyed the team spirit in the team, forced to retire many great batsmen, started with richardson, then hooper, adams etc. Whoever had a chance to offer some contribution for W indies, he destroyed him. So none came up with success. He won a match for W indies ( with 158 against Australia) to save his captaincy. other than that match he always played for him, that why WI lost matches 5-0, 3-0 in different times, absence of team spirit caused results like that, though he made centuries ( think the series against Srilanka). Now he has changed himself and changed, started to thank others for playing good, and also started to play for team. which brings the team spirit. And with those same players WI is getting result. Soon After his retirement Wi will become a much better team. Lara is a great batsman, not a good player at all. I want him to score some more centuries and retire.

  • Thaddeus on December 15, 2006, 20:31 GMT

    We measure greatness by statistics and performances and on that level alone Brian Lara deserves to be heralded as one of the all time greats. However, as fans we also enjoy the spectacle, the joy he gives to us watching the game live and/or in person and there is no question in my mind that Lara for all his frailities and incosistencies is the most entertaining batsman in the world. I can remember shots that Lara played in some of his finest innings and I dare anyone to consistently recall shots played by other 'great' batsmen i.e. Waugh, Ponting and co. On another note, I'm tired of people harping on the 400 and 375 at the ARG.Hundreds of other batsmen have played on that same wicket and for all its so called flatness, aside from Lara's innings' and Gayle's 317 there are only 2 double centuries. Moreover, everyone has had their chance to bat on that same wicket and those who lack the will and or desire or ability to bat for hours on end to amass gigantic scores ought not complain about the nature of the wicket.

    Finally, those who attack Lara's record against quality pace and on quality wickets need to have a look at the series vs SA in SA 2003-2004 and vs SA in WI (2004-2005)[which i might add was done on the back of no first class cricket for almost a year]. McGrath, Gillespie and Co in 1999 were pie chuckers as well i suppose. Lara can only play against the attacks put in front of him and those who attack his record against pace conveniently omit the undisputed fact that he is the best player of spin bowling bar none in Tests, at his advanced age to boot.

    My last comment is this, perhaps others were more consistent, perhaps others won more trophies but none was more brilliant and entertaining than BC Lara and he will be missed whenever he decides to walk away from the game. I just hope the WICB doesn't let him slip away into oblivion like other players in the not so distant past.

  • Vinod Krishnan on December 15, 2006, 20:29 GMT

    Yeah...another Brian Charles fan here. Well, those of you who've had a disparaging word or two about the Trinidadian prince, I'm afraid to say, do NOT understand cricket. (Nor do you care for it) It was interesting to listen to Ian Chappell once when he talked about great cricketers of different eras. He said he would've loved watching Sobers & Kanhai in their prime against Warne & Mcgrath because there was a fair chance that the two bowling greats would've got a pasting for 3 hours without the hope of getting a wicket. I personally would've loved watching Viv & Brian together against this formidable Aussie attack. Whenever Lara has walked out to bat against the Aussies it's almost seemed like an unfair battle. You've got 4 quality bowlers gunning for you. And not only that. He knows that there really isnt anyone around him really good enough to take the attack to the enemy; he's gotta do it all by himself. Here in India, people have been mad about SACHIN; rightly so. But how many people here have actually watched LARA bat LIVE in a Test?(Trust me, it just isnt the same as watching a Highlights show) And how often? Not often enough to make a fair comparison, in my view. I can honestly say that the most tension I've experienced while watching a game of cricket was ..(No, not an IND-PAK encounter) during that epic Test in April '99 when the Prince saw his side home in Barbados. When Lara is at his best I can think of just that one thing in life that gives more pleasure.

    My favorite Lara innings in Tests remains the knock I mentioned earlier (tough to pick a second best actually) and in one-dayers a couple of knocks I didnt actually watch LIVE. Going back to JAN 1997 => the double header at the WACA ; 103* v PAK & 90 v AUS.

    Cheers, VK.

  • Andy on December 15, 2006, 20:27 GMT

    Lara is just amazing to watch once he gets going. His high back lift coming down every so quick dispatching the balls to the rope in a blink of an eye..just amazing!!Hate him or love him, he is the best entertainer of cricket..his shot selections are one to dream about and only can be admire. Bowlers fear him greater than batsman fearing the WI attack of the 70-80s. Lara is mesmerizing and scintillating..he is a true genius of cricket. He can adapt to any situation quickly and dominate for a long period. Australia no doubt fears him the most for he has single handed destroy their bowling attack which is considered to be one of the greatest attack..warne mcgrath gillespie lee. One can describe lara in so many ways, but one word stands out of all and that is he is a true genius!

    As for gary, 1 or 11 well if you have an all rounder as great as sober who can bat and bowl well, you can say 1 but its 11. The reason cricket can be an individual sport is because one person alone can win a match such as lara 153*. Kallis has the ability to probably win matches by himself with his bowling and batting. I maybe wrong. You need everyone to perform well and do the little things that matter such as fielding and building partnerships etc.

  • Rauf on December 15, 2006, 20:26 GMT

    Some good articles. But I m against Abbasi bhai. I read it reverse. Heart for Pakistan and head (commonsense says Lara is great). Having said that, Andrew is no bum either!As great as Lara has been he is currently feasting on a buffet. Pakistan choice in Multan was disgraceful. Who picks a team/capt in such manner? I'd fine him/them 2million rps! And I disagree with Mr. Vasish Chawda. He forgot #s 2 - 9! I'd include Inzi, Yusuf, Azharudin, Ponting...and move Tendulkar up the ladder. Lets hope Pak selectors are capable of putting together a better side for tomorrow. I suggest exclude I. Farhat, Razzaq, Afridi....

  • Gary Niblock on December 15, 2006, 19:08 GMT

    Can someone tell me if there is 1 or 11 on a cricket team please?

  • khan khalil on December 15, 2006, 19:04 GMT

    Lara is a great batsman of this era. But also he is the most unfortunte batsman to be part of team who are only infront of bangladesh and zimbabue teams in world rankings. Had he been part of teams like south africa, australia etc he would have scored alot of more runs. But if he will win world cup for the carrabians then he will become a great legend of all time.

  • Ram on December 15, 2006, 18:58 GMT

    Lara is a genius when it comes to medium pacers and spin and not even great when it comes to real fast bowling.Period.Whether you guys want to believe it or not or lara was crazy in 90s or not this is the fact.

  • Pushkar on December 15, 2006, 18:54 GMT

    Mr.Vasish Chawda ... I know this article and the comments are for Lara n all.. but never ever disrespect a great player such as Sachin Tendulkar in such a pathetic way.. yeah he may be out of his prime now but in his day(which really wasn't v.far back too, and may come back too if he is able to motivate himself to play like that again!!), he has made almost every baller in the world grovel at his feet, and not even the great sledgers like McGrath,Warne,Donald etc had the guts to ever sledge him.. Tendulkar will always be the complete package.. perfect technique, awesome talent. the complete batsmen, the complete genius..but Lara who is once again absolutely brilliant in his own right... will always be a flawed genius!!

  • Raza on December 15, 2006, 18:45 GMT

    Lets not turn this into a debate whether some players are better/worse than Lara. Fact is, Lara is one of the great cricketers cricket has ever seen, and for that reason he should be appreciated by everyone no matter where you're origins are from.

  • SHEEJE on December 15, 2006, 18:37 GMT

    Well well... i dont have words to write abt Great Genious... But i always love to watch Brian Charles Lara batting, he is real master of the game, the man with style and playing cricketing shorts. He has his own cricketing shorts. He plays to the merit of the ball.. as many of u, i too have desire to watch Lara scoring High in Pakistan soil, I wish tomorrow may be his day. Lara is capable of scoring as much as runs he can against any pace attack of the world. My Head also says Pakistan but my heart says Lara.

  • david h on December 15, 2006, 18:21 GMT

    Some truly wonderful tributes have been paid to a batting legend in this forum, while of course a few cricketing ignoramuses have also had their say... i was actually shocked at just how mis-informed the person who wrote that Lara 'never won a match for West Indies' was...isn't that 153* rated as one of the greatest knocks ever...it is certainly more memorable than any other knock in recent history...which makes it even more amazing that someone who appears to write in such an authoritative tone could be so unaware of this, and indeed many other of Lara's knocks...the 277 at Sydney for example turned the series around for the West Indies,and the list goes on. Lara will go down as an all-time great, for my money he was better to watch than both of the other greats Tendulkar and Ponting. None of these three come close to Sir Viv,however, have we forgotten what Viv used to do to attacks for better than those to be found today? Ask Imran, Willis,Dev,Hadlee,McDermott,Thompson and others. That kind of intimidation followed up by domination just isn't possible with the modern greats...maybe Bradman did it, maybe Sobers or Pollack, but who else?

  • Abdul Baseer on December 15, 2006, 17:57 GMT

    Couldn't agree more on this! You just stole my words. One thing I would like to add is: Lara should be called Sir Lara from now on!

  • murtaz on December 15, 2006, 17:57 GMT

    Lara is greatest batsman in the world.He is much better then Tendulker, ponting, kallis, Inzmam and Dravid. His is a quality batsman as Wasim Akram was in bowling. Nobody can say He did not scord runs against the bowlers who has great pace. Every batsman in the world strugl against the bowlers like Wasim, Waqar, Donald,Mulli, Warne, Mcgrath, Ambrose and other great bowlers there is nothing new. He is a great batsman.

  • Arslan Shaukat on December 15, 2006, 17:57 GMT

    In response to Brian Harris:

    Tendulkar played half of his matches on dusty and spinning Indian pitches where the likes of kumble and Harbhajan regularly destroyed batting lineups. From his first innings up to now, name me one innings where Tendulkar either won the test match single handedly or even saved the match for India? The answer is none. Tendulkar for me has never been a match winner, but Lara has always been.

    About your argument that Lara has scored big hundreds in matches which did not matter. Well, just look up the number of big not out hundreds that Tendulkar has scored against Zimbabwe and Bangladesh. Take out those not out hundreds and you would find that Tendulkar's average comes down considerably. Whereas in comparison, Lara has played very few matches against those two outfits.

    Your argument about Sachin being more consistent than Lara is totally baseless. If you take out that four year period in mid to late 90s where Lara averaged mid 30s (which was again due to personal problems as I have stated in my previous post), Lara averages more than Sachin prior to that period and since that period. Since Lara's re-emergence in that Windies tour of SriLanka in 2002, Lara has scored a lot more runs at a far superior average than Tendulkar. Therefore, Tendulkar only outshone Lara in that late 90s period where "Lara went Crazy" for purely non-cricketing reasons.

    About Lara's second coming occurring on "sedate" SriLankan pitches, well again you are wrong. Sri Lanka, like India, have always prepared pitches which help their strength; which is spin bowlers. Those pitches on which Lara was reborn (in context of Cricket), were sharp turners and having played on those same pitches, Sachin never dominated and mastered Murali like Lara did. U don't seem to appreciate that playing spin is as much of an art as playing fast bowlers.

    About Sachin being mentally stronger than Lara, well again when did Sachin save or won a test match for India by playing in extreme pressure? As for Lara, the 1999 Test Series against Australia when the whole Caribbean had turned against him. What about his match saving innings against India just last year in the Test Series? How can u question Lara's mental toughness when he has been playing in immense pressure for the last six to seven years in one of the worst Windies Test side ever while knowing that if Windies want to take the match into the 3rd day, then he has to score big with no help.

    In response to Sudip:

    Lara struggled in Australia in 2001-02 series because he had just returned from a long self imposed exile with out any first class cricket. He was not even physically fit but nonetheless toured England and Australia consecutively. As for his struggles last year in Australia in the test series, well don't forget that again he was coming back from a huge layoff because of contract dispute in Windies. Even then, in three of the six test innings in which he played, he was given out when he was not, and on all of those ocassions, he had gotten a start. In Windies last test series in England in 03-04 against Harmison, Flintoff etc, he played a couple of beautiful innings but got out in 70s and 80s in the process of hitting out as he ran out of partners on the other end; an event which has been appearing repeatedly for the last 8 years.

    You are totally wrong in claiming that most great bowlers in the last 20 years have nominated Sachin as the best batsman of this generation. Waqar, Murali, Botham, Holding, Jeff Thompson, Warne, Gillespie, to name a few, have all opted for Lara as being the batsman of this generation.

  • Vasish Chawda on December 15, 2006, 17:42 GMT

    This is how i would rate top 10 batsman in the world: 1. Brian Lara 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. Sachin Tendulkar

    (this is wot i wud say... sheer class) he sets himself apart from everyone.

  • Zeeshan on December 15, 2006, 17:39 GMT

    Lara, like all players has been through the regular ups and downs. However, noone can question his sheer genius and talent. Yes, the later part of his career has been part of a declining West Indies team, but nevertheless, he is a great. And assuming that this ia his last international in Pakistan, i hope he displays a spectacle of what has made him arguably the best there ever was.

  • z. Awan on December 15, 2006, 17:34 GMT

    Since I have come to know Lara, he has always been a great batsman of the world of cricket. His dynasty will prevail as Richard clyd do.

    I never felt him as not a pakistani. I really do not understand why I felt no less love than our beloved cricketer e.g as Imran khan or Javed Miandad.

    He is a wonderful person as well. He never had any intersonal issues with any player of other teams.

  • Jagannath on December 15, 2006, 17:24 GMT

    I cannot agree (or disagree) more with some of the comments on this blog.What we've done is that we have tried to compare Leonardo da Vinci and Monet or van Gogh.Lara and Sachin are both geniuses but from different stables.Lets not even go as far as bringing in great batsmen like King Viv or Don from different eras into this debate.Lara is truly a spectacle when he is firing on all cylinders.His game is laced with the audacity and flamboyance that would look repulsive on any other batsman.He creates opportunities by smashing a four off a very good "in the corridor" ball.But so does Tendulkar.Or as a matter of fact, so do Ponting, Gilchrist, Aravinda or even Jayasuriya (in his heydays).But where do these two men transcend the thin line between being a genius and being very very good?If this tussle is about application, then both have done what many,many batsmen can only wish for.If its about pure thrill then both are just as good.Both face immense pressure(of expectation) each time they pad up and agreeably,both handle it in their own ways.But what makes Lara different from Sachin is his ability to make the bowlers watch in awe their seemingly perfect balls rocket to the longest boundary in the field.Sachin has earned immense respect from every bowler who has bowled to him for his ability to be so clinical in his dismantling of the bowling attack.But Lara induces fear in a bowler who's had a fiver in the previous inning because there is no saying when he shifts to top-gear seamlessly and stamps his authority on the game.This has happened repeatedly.Hey,I am one of the greatest fans of Sachin.He is truly exceptional.But we are talking about another maestro.One who makes the bowler look ridiculous when he thinks he may be just getting a hold on the small "battle" on hand.Lara is sublime when he needs to be,he is brash if needed,he is watchful when needed,he is pugnacious;he is every word I know for praising a person.He is also frustrating which throws light on his more mortal part.He is definitely one of the greatest a willow has been chopped down for. Many bowlers will tell their grandkids that they got smashed by the flashing blade of one BC Lara.We have to just bow to Lara when he retires and thank him profusely for making those hours of watching him bat truly exhilarating.

  • Adnan Samma on December 15, 2006, 17:23 GMT

    beat his moves! glamourou & ruthless

  • paul on December 15, 2006, 17:23 GMT

    lara is the greatest batsman ever pass tru cricket history, no one could single handedly dispatch a bowling attack like lara, saying he is a genius is a understatement, ask aussie bowlers, he is just the greatest the game have ever seen

  • Joel on December 15, 2006, 17:13 GMT

    I have been watching cricket on tv since the early 80's (while listening to it on the radio at the same time; dont ask, its a west indian thing), and I have never seen anyone bat like lara, not even Viv. Lara contemplates exactly how to dominate the bowler, and then does it. many times it has clearly been apparent that his natural genius has been hampered by the need to shepherd an increasingly fragile batting order, and I think that that has reduced the glory of what we might have seen. had he been blessed with a good opening pair to start an innings normally, i am of the opinion that he would have been so far away from anyone's reach that there would only ever have been a fight for second place in the record books.

  • Stefan on December 15, 2006, 17:01 GMT

    I disagree with the fact that bowlers hold Tendulkar in higher esteem than Lara. Cricinfo's round table discussion a few weeks ago doesn't support that. Murali also said Lara is the only batsman that challenges him. The consensus according to my experience, is that there is no greater threat to a bowlers figures than Lara.

    Of late as well, it was beautiful to see lara evolve into the leader that he is. I agree that at one time early in his career, expectation and immaturity overwhelmed him, but, one has to remember that at those times in the West Indies there were no real support systems a la Monty Panesar's pre-Ashes head shrinking. Nevertheless, it visibly impacted on his cricketing and his personal life, causing him to be like a ship without a sail, wondering how the sport he loved could cause him so much trial.

    This is important to mention, because for me, at the end of the day, Lara's story is not about runs, or records, or even about cricket. During the fallow period I mentioned, Lara stated that cricket was ruining his life. The reality is, however, that cricket was the thing that taught him self mastery, that taught him how to be a leader and that taught him how to become better as a cricketer, and as a man, than he ever thought he could be. And with every century he scores, he leaves his demons a little farther behind. The words of the Rev. Wes Hall rang prophetic, that though Lara felt that cricket was ruining his life, it is cricket, that would save it.

    This is the story that echoes in my mind every time I see Lara walk out to the crease, and I think on some level, we can all relate to him. Which is probably why we like to see him perform, but more importantly, part of why we love the sport. So you can keep your facts, figures, and your nationalistic squabbling to yourselves. Do you know what heroism is? For us, and for me, it comes in the form of a man, and that man's name is Brian Charles Lara.

  • Faisal Cheema on December 15, 2006, 16:38 GMT

    My heart, liver, lungs and mind all say PAKISTAN.

  • Miten Davda on December 15, 2006, 16:38 GMT

    Brian Lara continues to play the game of cricket so he can provide his knowledge and leadership to a group of young individuals who have potential but no guidance. He isn't the Lara of old as we have seen from some of his dismal performances in the last twenty ODI's. We will now only get glimpses of the legendary strokeplay that Lara was famour for and we have to satisfy our cravings with the odd classy four here and the crisp six there instead of the hours of brilliant entertainment that he was once able to provide. But that means nothing when we fully understand the positive impact he has had on the past generation of cricketers and the leadership and experience he brings to the current crop of players, not only in the West Indies but around the world.

  • Arthur Reynolds on December 15, 2006, 16:32 GMT

    Just ask yourself this one question? How many of Tendulkar's or Ponting's innings can actually be remembered? Very few. And Jacques Kallis? I don't think so. Brian Lara is the greatest entertainer this cricketing world has ever seen. His is a match-winner and glorious to watch on his day. I agree, he is not consistent but in a poor West Indian team with zero support what can you expect? BRIAN CHARLES LARA is the greatest batsman I have ever witnessed, ever.

  • Gary Niblock on December 15, 2006, 16:18 GMT

    How I love Brian Lara - if only because his career ridicules the cricinfo obsession with match winners. By the logic of this site, Lara should be the worst ever. Funny how Sachin has been mentioned - if he is so bad - why is he always the yardstick - thats not really for here though.

    I wont eulogise about Lara as enough people here have. All I'll say is I just hope people here appreciate Brian Lara while he's still around for when he's gone even his harshest critics will long for his skyscraping backlift and flashing blade.

  • Shaz on December 15, 2006, 16:11 GMT

    Pure Geniuse and it never easy being a geniuse. The most elegant of the 3 leading batsman (ponting & tendulkar being the others)and can easily be the most destructive batter.

  • anees ahmed on December 15, 2006, 16:11 GMT

    well im going for both

    pakistan rack up a biiiig score and lara still gets a big 100,

    my head and my heart are both happy

  • Haider on December 15, 2006, 15:55 GMT

    There is no doubt that Lara is a great batsman of this era, but that does not make him invincible. Ricky Ponting on the other hand has less charisma and quality but more mental strength to take his team to the highest level. Poor Inzi may be down the good breed of A list batsmen,has been let down sheer unwillingness to run.

    Nevertheless every one has to go one day, so enjoy watching these greats whilst they play.

  • Brian Harris on December 15, 2006, 15:52 GMT

    As has been unequivocally established, Lara WILL go down in the pantheons of cricket as one of the greatest batsmen. How he stacks up to the other greats namely Bradman & Tendulkar is another story. Against Bradman...nothing to discuss there..uncovered pitches, lack of protective gear, consistency...Bradman is head and shoulders above anyone.

    As an Australian, watching a shy, dimunitive teenager Sachin take on the best and score a magnificient 100 at Perth was to rewind back to the dawn of the Bradman era. If it wasn't for injuries taking their toll on the master blaster in the last 3-4 years, we wouldnt even be having this discussion. I partially agree with David about Lara's run scoring abilities, but at the end of the day you still need to score, and thats where Lara's big appetite shows. To say Lara won games single-handedly is to insult Walsh and Ambrose, for history reveals that these two fine bowling machines have setup victories in more ways than one.

    Tendulkar started his career with public pressure, where failure is not an option. He has played under more pressure than any sportsman in the history of the game. Remember, he never had the luxury of a good bowling attack unlike Lara did. Srinath the workhorse and Kumble the Jumbo are very good bowlers but not in the same league as Walsh & Ambrose. And other than Azharuddin, I dont recollect any other batting reserves till the mid- 90's. His is a baptism by fire and boy has be handled it. And his humility even after being treated like a demi-god is a lesson for all. Lara has had his tantrums, be it forcing Richardson to resign or sitting in England on a tour to SA, all for monetary reasons. Statistically too, most of Lara's great knocks have come in a dead rubber when there was nothing to lose. He played some outstanding innings, who can forget that glorious 153* batting with the tailenders. In ODI's Tendulkar is head and shoulders above anyone, his sheer consistency and numbers can attest that. In the test arena, Lara and Tendulkar are probably on the same footing, especially after Tendulkars "downward" spiral of the last few years. As a cricketer, Tendulkar wins hands down because of his superior consistency, ability to take that crucial wicket with his magic arm or even his ability to field anywhere. Whereas Lara's consistency is his inconsistency, doesnt bowl and fields in the slips. Mentally Tendulkar is much much stronger than the frail Lara who needed psychological help to rediscover his confidence. Tendulkar is the teacher of the game, Lara a rebellious student with tons of natural genius.

    Ponting still has a long way to go befire he can be spoken in the same terms as these gentlemen. And yes the bowling attacks of the 2000's have wilted down as compared to the 90's. But you still need to go out there and score. Come to think of it didn't Lara's second coming be against Sri Lanka on sedate pitches?

  • sudip on December 15, 2006, 15:42 GMT

    Lara is a great player no doubt but if actually look at his record when he played against the very best bowlers and when it really mattered he struggled. Everyone talks about the Bridgetown test match against Austrlia and yes he was brilliant in that. But if you look at his record against Australia in Austrlalia his average is just about 40. Yes he's scored four centureies in Australia but three of them were scored either when the series was lost or almost lost (2-0 down in a five match series). His record in Australia outside Adelaide is particularly poor. Then when you consider he never scored a century against a Pakistan side containing Wasim, Waqar or even Shoaib or a SA team including Allan Donald it seems he has always struggled against top quality pace. It's no coincidence that when Stev Harmison was at his best Lara didn't get any runs against England until he got to Antigua. Granted he could 400 but the series was well lost by then and Antigua has the flattest pitch in the world. Up until 2000 WI had top bowlers so to say he played in a poor team is not necessarily accurate. It's only in the last five years WI have really struggled at home and away. Undoubtedly he is a great, but more bowlers of the last 20 years say Tendulkar is the greatest they have bowled to. And before anyone says Lara is a match winner and Tendulkar isn't, the truth is neither really. Very few of Lara's best innings have led to a WI win just like very few of Tendulkar's have for India. In that sense both struggle. The difference is that a myth has grown around Lara that he is a match winner because of the Bridgetown match. Of course Lara is an artist but his very best efforts were on flat pitches and when the opposition didn't have all out quicks

  • firoz khan on December 15, 2006, 15:28 GMT

    I dont think i agree with u guys calling Lara the best ever. He is a very good player and i agree with it but a 'legend' is plain exaggeration. And all i want to see is Pakistan winning the series and i hope its goin to be a convincing win Inshallah.

  • Mike on December 15, 2006, 15:21 GMT

    David Furrows, you are talking totally nonsense. Lara was more a saviour for the West Indies than Viv Richards.

    http://www1.cricinfo.com/link_to_database/ARCHIVE/1998-99/AUS_IN_WI/SCORECARDS/

    Just look at the scorecards of the test matches in that series, then eat some humble pie. I think Lara was more of a saviour than Viv Richards. Lara had two world class fastmen for support in Ambrose and Walsh. Richards had like seven in Marshall, Roberts, Garner, Croft, Holding, Daniel, Davis. And not to mention Ambrose and Walsh played under him as well. Richards also had better batsman as support: Greenidge, Haynes, Richardson and a true wicketkeeper-batsman in Dujon. With all that support, I'm sure Lara would have reached even more than Richards.

  • Mubasher Hassan, Lahore, Pakistan on December 15, 2006, 15:19 GMT

    Unarguably the best of the current best batsmen. He is the super genius. Whenever he wanted to win, a win was there for him and his team, whenever he wanted to save, a gem of innings was produced against the monsterous attack and proved his critics wrong. He could be all what he wanted to be. I simply love his batting. He is a class act having a flexible body and having spring in his toes .. in the middle.

    Surely cricketing fans will miss him. One reson I like his batting is because he has played half of his with pthetic bowling order but again I would say he saved them from being demolished single handedly on many ocassions.

    When I see his record .. having most double hundreds in loosing case .. I feel a lump in my throat. I'll miss Lara after he retires.

    He desrves a standing ovation.

  • sulaiman ijaz on December 15, 2006, 15:16 GMT

    we should let no lesser a judge of cricket than mohammad yousuf have the last word about brian charles lara. i refer to his press conference after breaking 1710.

    roughly he said, in urdu, that lara is the only player of the modern era who compares with viv richards. as evidence he added, almost wistfully, for any mortal to get 501, 400 & 375 would be bloody difficult, even if playing "aisay hee," i.e. in jest. and that the ability to score such runs in first class & test cricket sets BCL completely apart.

    geez, this coming from the record holder for most runs and hundreds in a calendar year! after setting a world record for dismissals in the 190s, it is safe to assume moyo recognizes with painfull clarity the genius, concentration, hunger and sheer will power of the great man.

  • Gavin Lee on December 15, 2006, 15:15 GMT

    Lara without a doubt is the greatest ever.Imagine Lara in an era when the only time a bowler saw him was when they were playing,no videos to review. He is a genious , I saw him single handedly draw a series against the mighty Australians in 1999, make 400* against Flintoff,Harmisson and Hoggard(not a bad line up at all). His elegance is probably what makes him so great and he is just scoring test runs now at unbelievable will as he gets older. I would love to see how Ponting and Tendulkar do when they reach 38, then most people will realise how greta this man was.We as fans and cricket in general will surely lose the greatest entertainer the game has ever seen when he retires hopefully at age 40.

  • zeeshan tirmizi on December 15, 2006, 15:15 GMT

    Thanks for posting this much awaited blog Kamran. The legend of LARA:POETRY IN CRICKET. As Dravid recently said that you can only admire him but can't copy him.How can he muster all those movements before a 90+ mph delivery.No coach would advise to follow his style.He has shown more than once his dominance of the two greatest spin-bowlers of this era namely warne and murli.no other contemporary batsman can claim that. I have a query about his success against Wasim,Waqar,Saqlain and co.I think that was the only bowling attack which gave the legend any trouble in his cricketing career.His stats against Pak have improved now thanks to a much depleted Pakistani bowling lineup. For his Batting genuis,I rate him even higher than The great DON.after all DON didn't have to play against so many different pitches and so many different kinds of bowlers.I guess his Legacy has some element of support from the AUSSIES. Farewell Lara:definitely the batsman I would miss most when he is gone.

  • John Ferguson on December 15, 2006, 15:09 GMT

    Arguably the greatest batsman ever to play the game. The naysayers should check the quality of the opposition and the runs he's scored against them,no helpings against Zimbabwe and Bangladesh. Look at the amount of runs he's scored against the most dominant attack in the world Australia and the pressure situation even in Sri Lanka had he not been injured after the collision with Murali that would've been a rcord breaking year also. I'm already mopping the tears and making sure i get my dvd collection going before this maestro plays his final innings in cricket. Thanks a million Brian Charles Lara you brought joy and pain to the hearts of many with your feats as the ULTIMATE BATSMAN OF ALL TIME.

  • Dr Veerendra Chadachan on December 15, 2006, 15:07 GMT

    I think the records should speak, not the fans, becoz there is no bias in the records. But sometimes, the records may not reflect the true potential of a player, as anybody will agree, if you see the records of a player of the calibre of Carl Hooper. When it comes to Lara, I think the records do not reflect his real talent and skill. I mean, he has much more potential than what his records speak. Can anybody tell me frankly, is the team support with Lara same as Tendulkar and Ponting have? Since his debut, Westindies have been playing on him. All the opposition have involved in only one act when playing against Windies - To come up with strategies to get Lara out, they have never bothered about other players. May be to some extent, against Tendulkar when playing against India. Ponting? No team will be preparing strategies to get Ponting out, In short, no team is scared as much as they are scared of Lara. Anybody can imagine, what Lara's records would have been if he was playing in a team with the likes of Dravid, Ganguly, Laxman and Sehwag or with the likes of Langer, Hayden, Hussey, Gilchrist or with the likes of Yousuf, Younis Khan, Inzamam. Lara is definitely the Greatest batsman of the century and stands above the likes of Don, Viv, Sobers, Sunny, Miandad, Border,....leave apart Tendulkar, Ponting, Steve Waugh, Inzy, Kallis, Aravinda,.....He has won all the hurdles (including politics) singlehandedly and has now shown the whole world, how special he is. He has brought the Westindies the respect it had lost over the years. I wish Lara continues to play cricket for the entire life. Wish him all the best.

  • edmund ten on December 15, 2006, 15:06 GMT

    just to add to my previous piece on Lara....i recently heard a radio broadcaster state that Ponting will go on and break all batting records. i believe he will definately break the ton scoring record (tendulkar's) and the most runs (Lara's)but as for Tendulkars ODI runs..no chance and Lara's 501* and 400* ...no chance. And will Ponting still be able to score a double ton when hes almost 38 like Lara last month?...who knows. One thing is for sure players like Lara and Viv and Imran and Maindad and Warne and Lillee are remembered long after they have retired, not because of their records but because of the way they played this great game. eddy

  • Arslan Shaukat on December 15, 2006, 15:03 GMT

    In response to Andrew the Bum:

    What are you talking about? Windies never played Pakistan in 1999. Pakistan toured West Indies in the early part of the present decade and Lara did not feature in it because of self imposed exile. He was taking a break from cricket and had not played in Windies tours leading up to that particular series. On the point of Lara not scoring against Wasim, Waqar etc., I recall Lara scoring a scintillating 150 plus in a sharjah cup final in 93/94 where he pulverized Waqar & Co. He never played that much against Wasim & Waqar in their prime. In the 97 Windies tour of Pakistan, Lara Struggled as he was not enjoying playing anymore in those days and was going through personal crisis. According to Ian Chappell, "Lara's mind went crazy during that period of late 90s". It was not about cricket. He was going through a very tough phase in his life.

    In response to David Furrows:

    Get your facts right mate, before writing what you did, which was with all due respect, pure rubbish. Lara's record against Australia is nothing short of outstanding. During the first five years of his career which coincided with the last half decade of Windies domination; Lara averaged around 60 which in its own right is an amazing feet. According to you, even after that he had the support of Bishop and Sarwan, who both by the way, average less than 40 and are two of biggest underachievers in the modern era. Whereas Ponting's supporting cast has included heavyweights such as Waugh Brothers, Gilchrist, Hayden, Langer, Hussey etc. Just compare their averages with Sarwan, Hooper & Co. and u would see there is no comparison. Tendulkar similarly had the support of Azharudin, Dravid, Laxman, Ganguly etc. who have much superior records than Sarwan and Hooper.

    About Lara not being a match winner, how can u forget Lara single handedly pulverizing McGrath & Warne & Co. in that incredible 98/99 Test Series in the Caribbean b/w the 2 sides. Against a very hostile South Africa bowling attack on fast, bouncy home pitches during the 2003-04 tour of South Africa, Lara outshone Kallis and was the best batsman on the show by a mile. You take out Lara's innings in the last six/seven years, and Windies would have lost matches in three even two days. At least he made those losses a bit more respectable.

    Last but not least, I totally disagree with your inference that Lara is "technically great" but "lacks mental strength". In fact it is the total opposite of that. A sound technique has never been Lara's forte while mentally, he is one of the toughest batsman the world has ever seen. Ex-Greats like Ian Chappell, Michael Holding, Allan Border, Ian Botham to name a few, know about what constitutes a great much more than u or me, and over the years, they have described Lara with more superlatives than I have here.

  • Enam Karim on December 15, 2006, 15:03 GMT

    I agree wholly with the commentary about Lara being one of the greatest. Along with Lara, Shachin and Ponting has consistently been playing great cricket for fans to be mesmerised. While no statistics or qualitative assessment can be made who is the best, there will be no doubt in this current era as well as the past (barring Bradman - though I believe the modern cricket could have seen a different Bradman) these three cricketers are the best.

  • Faislabadi on December 15, 2006, 15:00 GMT

    Lara has more often than not played brilliantly in important matches.The test in which he made 400 was the last test of the series and had WestIndies lost that match,it would have been their first whitewash at their own soil.But he came up with a record breaking innings.And in 1996 and 2003 worldcups, he scored centuries against South Africans to win his team match.And who can forget his 153 and 213 against Australia.I can go on and on, on his acheivements.People may have different opinions,few will criticize him but the reality does not change and the reality is that he is the best batsmen cricketing world have seen since great Vivian Richards.

  • sameer on December 15, 2006, 15:00 GMT

    i love how you finished of the last sentence.i beleive Lara is the best if not one of the best batsmen produced by the game of cricket. Wheneever he walks out to the crease he always looks calm and composed ready to play against anything let it be pace or spin. When i watch the match tommorow inshallah i will be watching Lara eargly asweill the west indies

  • Omar Ahmad on December 15, 2006, 14:57 GMT

    He is the best! My Fav.

  • Ahsan on December 15, 2006, 14:42 GMT

    Legend!!! thats the only word i can come up with at the moment.. i know i'm not doing him justice.. sorry 4 that..

    n btw, when did i post a comment on this article :-|

  • Chetan on December 15, 2006, 14:21 GMT

    I disagree with David furrows to a certain extent.Though Lara made some hundreds against substandard opposition, he has also made some great hundreds.Who can ever forget the series against Australia where he scored 153* and 213 and single handedly fought the australians in their prime.Also, ther other batsmen have also played against substandard opposition and I don't see them making a 400.

  • edmund tenn on December 15, 2006, 13:51 GMT

    i agree, Lara has played innings that not even the great Sir Don could muster. How do you score 501* without getting out once????? And to re-claim the test record after losing it to Haydens 380 against some no-hopers is in my opinion the single greatest batting feat ever. we often hear the comparisons between Lara and Tendulkar and they are both 'great', but Lara was/is capable of the impossible. Tendulkar is a consistant ton scorer as is Ponting, but is scoring ton's the only way we value batsman. Gavaskar was a ton machine also but was he better/greater than VIV because he scored more tons? As for Ponting, hes a lucky man, hes never had to face two of the three great bowlers of this era,Warne and McGrath, murli being the third. both Lara and tendulkar have very good records against Aus and i think that says it all. i will miss Lara when he retires more than Viv, more than Marshall, more than Wasim and more than Warne. Lara'a the greatest. Eddy

  • qazi waleed on December 15, 2006, 13:51 GMT

    Lara has been the greatest batsman produced by Windies and ofcourse he do have the world record of the highest runs in test cricket.I think hes much much better than ponting and tendulkar.In the final ODI against windies I would love if Lara shows his quality in his last match in paki pitch....GO LARA

  • Arslan Shaukat on December 15, 2006, 13:40 GMT

    Lara is a FREAK! In comparison to contemporary greats like Tendulkar and Ponting, Lara stands in a league of his own. I can write a 3000 word essay on Lara's greatness but yet would fail to do justice to his talent. Had he had the luxury of bating alongside players of the caliber of Hussey, Gilchrist, S. Waugh, Laxman, Dravid etc, his average would be greater than seventy in my opinion.

    Lara's talent is unique. For me, his true greatness lies in the fact that he refuses to confine his bating/stroke play within the boundaries laid down by a bating coaching manual. Watching Lara bat in his full flow is like witnessing a statement, a declaration being made; which is that only batsmen with limited natural talent and ability need to adhere to a conventional technique and shots. Lara, bating in full flight, makes a mockery of the obsession of coaches and batsmen with being "techinically correct" to be successful in Test cricket. I, like many, have witnessed Lara sweeping a fast bowler (McGrath) to get to his double hundred, straight driving Bret Lee's full length deliveries on his back foot, working deliveries from outside off-stump towards the mid-wicket region and square driving deliveries to off-side which were hitting middle stump. What makes him so special is the elegance with which he plays these unorthodox shots.

    Bat in Lara's hands is like a paint brush in the hands of an artist with the ground being his canvas. I have never seen any other batsman being able to pierce the field to find a gap like Lara does. The last cover drive with which he won the 4th one dayer for Windies is a perfect testimony to that. The way he delayed his shot and opened the face of the bat ever so slightly at the very last moment to find the gap between cover and point was breathtaking. As Mike Atherton put it, "Watching Lara bat is watching batsmanship at its purest."

  • Ahsan on December 15, 2006, 13:40 GMT

    Lara is one of the living legends in cricket .I would love to see him score a classy century on karachi wicket .overall its his last match here.

  • Dan James on December 15, 2006, 13:38 GMT

    The Best. Ever

  • David Furrows on December 15, 2006, 13:27 GMT

    I rarely cease to be disappointed by Lara.

    Contrary to what you have written, Kamran, for the first five years of his Test career Brian Lara's West Indies team was the undisputed Test champion of the world and until 1998 (half-way through his Test career) was in the world's top three.

    But whereas Viv Richards was at his most dangerous and inspired when the team was in trouble, and rescued the Windies on countless occasions, Lara often saved his best for the dead wicket at Antigua (375 and 400) or for sub-standard opposition (the delightful 277 at the SCG against a knackered Merv and an embryonic Warne).

    Lara's disruptiveness sent Richie Richardson into premature retirement, but the team wouldn't have lost its crown to Australia in 1995 if Lara had actually pulled his weight.

    I've enjoyed Lara over the years, but whereas the IVA Richards and Imran Khans of this world rose to the challenge of playing the best opposition, Lara is more like Waqar Younis: technically great but he never led the team to victory (or even tied series)against the best.

    Martin Crowe made New Zealand virtually unbeatable with only Richard Hadlee for support. Lara for most of his career had Ambrose, Walsh, Bishop, a pair of Benjamins not to mention Chanderpaul, Hooper and latterly Sarwan. But he lacked the mental strength and commitment to reinforce his natural gifts with the application needed to fight toe-to-toe with the heavyweights.

  • Patrick on December 15, 2006, 13:27 GMT

    I share your sentiments especially since I am a West Indian and huge Brian Lara fan from the moment I stayed up all night and saw his 277 at Sydney. In the 1992 World Cup against Pakistan he was forced to retire hurt after being struck on the foot by a Wasim Akram yorker on 90 odd, though the innings he played thoroughly deserved a century.

  • Omar Ansari on December 15, 2006, 13:23 GMT

    I wish I was in Pakistan to wintess his last match in our soil, my heart was with lara during the test matches as well, even before hafeez bored us all in the final test, I was hoping that laras team would win the final match and draw the test series.

    I hope lara pulls off a terrific show tomorrow and shows everyone his might, I will never forget him...

  • Andrew the Bum on December 15, 2006, 13:19 GMT

    Lara hasn't been all that good against Pakistan until recently. He only started scoring runs against Pakistan when the likes of Shabbir, Rana, Gul, Razzaq and Kaneria were bowling. That's hardly threatning! When Wasim, Waqar, Saqlain, Mushtaq were playing, he averaged a pathetic 20 odd, and skipped many chances of playing Pakistan(1999 Windies tour, 2001 Sharjah tour) because of the fear of facing these guys. Even now if he had played against Shoaib and Asif, do you think he would've scored all those runs? Not a chance. IMO he's just cashing on the current Pakistan buffet bowling.

  • Ahwar Dar on December 15, 2006, 13:13 GMT

    There is no better sight to behold than Lara flashing that blade in the middle. The fact that he has not backed down in the later stage of his career says a lot about his mindset. He is also perhaps the only player who the Pakistanis cheer even if he is playing well which means a loss for us. I think if he scores, it isnt just the West Indies that win, its cricket's victory and its glorious.

  • Mohammed Fakhruddeen Ifticardeen on December 15, 2006, 12:57 GMT

    Lara has been a living legend. I would say that he is the best batsman around because he can play well on any pitch against any opposition. People like Ponting, Tendulkar have certain weaknesses but Lara doesn't have a definite weakness. He has shouldered alot of responsibility with great success when it comes to batting and i wonder how the West Indies will fare after he goes.

    I too hope he will come good in the final game. And hopefully in the World Cup too.

  • Junaid on December 15, 2006, 12:57 GMT

    I would go for Lara scoring a 100 on his last match on the Pak soil.... I am at the same place like you where my head says Pak but heart says Lara... Long after he retires I would be able to say that I witnessed a great maestro on his final tour scoring a majestic ton.

  • Ash on December 15, 2006, 12:30 GMT

    I probably would go for Lara, without any doubt he single handily entertained the cricket lover around the globe.To cheer for him in his last innings even on punishment of Pakistani bowling wouldn't be that disappointed.The top genius of his generation deserves to go out in style.

  • Irfan on December 15, 2006, 12:25 GMT

    Lara is truely one of the greatest batsman ever, when he gets going there is no one better then him, i agree that he lacks support as Ponting or Tendulkar or even Kallis has in his team, but still he is the most attractive batsman, he has been very intelligent with his captaincy this time around and has led a young team very well, I would love to see him make a big score in the last match in Pakistan , but still Pakistan should win ;) . Lara has some memorible knocks against Pakistan but Pakistani bowlers also gave Lara some hard times, Waqar's Yorker, Zahid's One over, Umar Gul 's recenet performance ,

  • Ali Hasan on December 15, 2006, 12:25 GMT

    Being a Paki, this might sound treacherous but I've been wanting Lara to score big on this entire tour. If any of you doubters are wondering why, I'd sugggest watching the Multan ODI again, and forwarding to the SIX lara hit off RAO. A length ball dispatched over cover for six, with a vertical bat swing. Yes I'm talking about absolute disdain here. Not to mention, the guy had hardly arrived at the crease. Pure genius!

    It's sad that he is not batting further up the order. Samuels was a class act, but a hundred from Lara would've made my week.

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • Ali Hasan on December 15, 2006, 12:25 GMT

    Being a Paki, this might sound treacherous but I've been wanting Lara to score big on this entire tour. If any of you doubters are wondering why, I'd sugggest watching the Multan ODI again, and forwarding to the SIX lara hit off RAO. A length ball dispatched over cover for six, with a vertical bat swing. Yes I'm talking about absolute disdain here. Not to mention, the guy had hardly arrived at the crease. Pure genius!

    It's sad that he is not batting further up the order. Samuels was a class act, but a hundred from Lara would've made my week.

  • Irfan on December 15, 2006, 12:25 GMT

    Lara is truely one of the greatest batsman ever, when he gets going there is no one better then him, i agree that he lacks support as Ponting or Tendulkar or even Kallis has in his team, but still he is the most attractive batsman, he has been very intelligent with his captaincy this time around and has led a young team very well, I would love to see him make a big score in the last match in Pakistan , but still Pakistan should win ;) . Lara has some memorible knocks against Pakistan but Pakistani bowlers also gave Lara some hard times, Waqar's Yorker, Zahid's One over, Umar Gul 's recenet performance ,

  • Ash on December 15, 2006, 12:30 GMT

    I probably would go for Lara, without any doubt he single handily entertained the cricket lover around the globe.To cheer for him in his last innings even on punishment of Pakistani bowling wouldn't be that disappointed.The top genius of his generation deserves to go out in style.

  • Junaid on December 15, 2006, 12:57 GMT

    I would go for Lara scoring a 100 on his last match on the Pak soil.... I am at the same place like you where my head says Pak but heart says Lara... Long after he retires I would be able to say that I witnessed a great maestro on his final tour scoring a majestic ton.

  • Mohammed Fakhruddeen Ifticardeen on December 15, 2006, 12:57 GMT

    Lara has been a living legend. I would say that he is the best batsman around because he can play well on any pitch against any opposition. People like Ponting, Tendulkar have certain weaknesses but Lara doesn't have a definite weakness. He has shouldered alot of responsibility with great success when it comes to batting and i wonder how the West Indies will fare after he goes.

    I too hope he will come good in the final game. And hopefully in the World Cup too.

  • Ahwar Dar on December 15, 2006, 13:13 GMT

    There is no better sight to behold than Lara flashing that blade in the middle. The fact that he has not backed down in the later stage of his career says a lot about his mindset. He is also perhaps the only player who the Pakistanis cheer even if he is playing well which means a loss for us. I think if he scores, it isnt just the West Indies that win, its cricket's victory and its glorious.

  • Andrew the Bum on December 15, 2006, 13:19 GMT

    Lara hasn't been all that good against Pakistan until recently. He only started scoring runs against Pakistan when the likes of Shabbir, Rana, Gul, Razzaq and Kaneria were bowling. That's hardly threatning! When Wasim, Waqar, Saqlain, Mushtaq were playing, he averaged a pathetic 20 odd, and skipped many chances of playing Pakistan(1999 Windies tour, 2001 Sharjah tour) because of the fear of facing these guys. Even now if he had played against Shoaib and Asif, do you think he would've scored all those runs? Not a chance. IMO he's just cashing on the current Pakistan buffet bowling.

  • Omar Ansari on December 15, 2006, 13:23 GMT

    I wish I was in Pakistan to wintess his last match in our soil, my heart was with lara during the test matches as well, even before hafeez bored us all in the final test, I was hoping that laras team would win the final match and draw the test series.

    I hope lara pulls off a terrific show tomorrow and shows everyone his might, I will never forget him...

  • Patrick on December 15, 2006, 13:27 GMT

    I share your sentiments especially since I am a West Indian and huge Brian Lara fan from the moment I stayed up all night and saw his 277 at Sydney. In the 1992 World Cup against Pakistan he was forced to retire hurt after being struck on the foot by a Wasim Akram yorker on 90 odd, though the innings he played thoroughly deserved a century.

  • David Furrows on December 15, 2006, 13:27 GMT

    I rarely cease to be disappointed by Lara.

    Contrary to what you have written, Kamran, for the first five years of his Test career Brian Lara's West Indies team was the undisputed Test champion of the world and until 1998 (half-way through his Test career) was in the world's top three.

    But whereas Viv Richards was at his most dangerous and inspired when the team was in trouble, and rescued the Windies on countless occasions, Lara often saved his best for the dead wicket at Antigua (375 and 400) or for sub-standard opposition (the delightful 277 at the SCG against a knackered Merv and an embryonic Warne).

    Lara's disruptiveness sent Richie Richardson into premature retirement, but the team wouldn't have lost its crown to Australia in 1995 if Lara had actually pulled his weight.

    I've enjoyed Lara over the years, but whereas the IVA Richards and Imran Khans of this world rose to the challenge of playing the best opposition, Lara is more like Waqar Younis: technically great but he never led the team to victory (or even tied series)against the best.

    Martin Crowe made New Zealand virtually unbeatable with only Richard Hadlee for support. Lara for most of his career had Ambrose, Walsh, Bishop, a pair of Benjamins not to mention Chanderpaul, Hooper and latterly Sarwan. But he lacked the mental strength and commitment to reinforce his natural gifts with the application needed to fight toe-to-toe with the heavyweights.