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Writing in the Wisden Almanack, an extract of which is in the Times, Mike Atherton pays tribute to the cavalier genius of Brian Lara.
No other contemporary player, save perhaps Mohammad Azharuddin, could deflect the ball so finely and so powerfully with a turn of the blade and flick of the wrists. Lara had subtlety in an age of power and brute force.
This unrestricted repertoire, the widest of arcs being open to him, and the ability to hit good balls to the boundary made him uniquely feared by opposing captains. You might worry about Adam Gilchrist, say, butchering an attack and smashing a bowler to smithereens, but Lara made captains, not bowlers, look silly. If you knew you were going to die, you’d prefer a single bludgeoning blow to the head, or a quick bullet to the brain, rather than death by a thousand ever-so-precise cuts. Eleven fielders were never enough; there were always gaps to plug.