Cricket, the Brilliant Game!

A fresh take on cricket, the brilliant game…

Player Profile(#4)…Brian Lara(West Indies)

Posted by wildkiwi25 on February 11, 2008

Brian Lara

Brian Lara

Born in a family that had the same number of children as a fielded cricket team (11), it wasn’t very long until Brian Charles Lara took to the bat and was bitten by cricketing game bug. Right from the onset it was evident he was a very talented sportsman, apart from the game of cricket he also played for Trinidad’s junior soccer and table tennis teams. At 6 years of age he was introduced to the finer techniques of the game when his father and one of his older sisters enrolled him at the Harvard Coaching Clinic and it was perhaps attending these classes that helped his passion for the game grow which made him choose cricket as his main and primary focus.

His great cricketing career really started to grow when at the tender age of 14 he made a positively astonishing 745 runs at an average of 126.16 in the schoolboy’s league (for Fatima College). This brilliant and Don Bradman-esqe like performance from the youngster earned him a call-up to the Trinidad National U16 team. The following year he stepped up and was selected in the Trinidad side to play in the West Indian U19 tournament and through his successes there he gained selection for the West Indies U19 side, which was very well earned. The year of 1987 was a season where he achieved yet another great milestone, by getting 498 runs and beating the record of 480 by fellow West Indian Carl Hooper in the West Indies Youth Championships. He also was captain for the Trinidad and Tobago side during this tournament which ultimately won this tournament due to his heroic innings of 116. His long-awaited Senior First-Class debut was made in January of 1988 when he played for Trinidad and Tobago in the Red Stripe Cup against Leeward Islands. His following match against a Barbados side was where he made a very credible 92 against a legendary bowling attack of Joel Garner and Malcolm Marshall. In the same year he was the head-honcho of the West Indies side that participated in the Bicentennial Youth World Cup in Australia where his side carved a road to the semi-finals, and later that season he captained the West Indies U23 XI against a touring Indian team, where his remarkable innings of 182 enhanced his growing reputation even more.

Eventually his superb performances earned him a call-up to the senior West Indies side but due to the death of his father he put that stage of his cricketing career temporarily on hold, as one can imagine losing one of their parents’ can be devastating and is an unfortunate occasion where the game of cricket has to temporarily take a back seat. 1989 was when he began his resurgence when he captained a West Indies B team to Zimbabwe and scored an encouraging 145 during the tour to the Southern African country.

In 1990 Brian Lara was made Captain of the senior Trinidad and Tobago team at the tender age of 20, and he showed his class and maturity by leading the side to the one-day Geddes Grant Shield. This was another milestone as now he was the youngest ever captain for the side, which surely prepared him for his belated Test debut against Pakistan. On this occasion he scored 44 and 5 in his innings. His ODI debut however came a month prior against the same opposition and he scored 11 on this occasion. The 1992 World Cup in New Zealand/Australia saw him perform to an exceptional standard, averaging 47.57 during the tournament with a highest score of 88 retired hurt. In January of 1993 saw a performance by him that typified his reputation and class. In Australia he scored a maiden century (277) in his 5th ever test and this performance was one that would eventually lead a West Indies comeback in the series against the Australians to win the series 2-1.

Brian Lara’s career contained many highlights, including several major records. He holds both records for the highest innings score in Test and first-class, with scores of 400n.o (against a touring England side in 2004) and 501 for Warwickshire vs Durham in 1994, respectively. In the latter he hit 308 of those runs in boundaries (10 sixes and 62 fours). He is also the only man in history to reclaim a World Record innings score. In 1994 he scored a then world record 375 against England (in turn beating Sir Garfield Sobers record of 365) which he held for nearly 10 years until 2003 when Matthew Hayden scored a hard-hitting 380 against an inexperienced Zimbabwe side (he was eventually out to Trevor Gripper), and he reclaimed the record the following year with that brilliant innings of 400 n.o. He is the only batsman in international Test history to achieve the Holy Grail of test cricket (breaking the 400 mark). On 16th Dec 2006 he was the first player from the West Indies to achieve the milestone of 10,000 ODI runs. Sachin Tendulkar and himself are the only batsmen to score as many runs in both ODI and Test forms of cricket.

The dead-rubber game against England in the 2007 Cricket World Cup in the West Indies on April 21st was to be his swansong in ODI cricket. In his last innings he was involved in a bad mix-up at the crease with Marlon Samuels and was run out for 18, with England prevailing to win the match by one wicket. During the post-match interview he asked his fans “Did I entertain?” and the answer was a very loud “YES!” I’m sure he was humbled by this show of respect by his fans. He showed his respect and acknowledgement to his fans by doing a lap of honour around the ground, where he met some of those fans. It was said that this was going to be the last time he was going to have an active role in cricket however on 23rd July 2007 he signed with the Indian Cricket League to play for the Mumbai Champs, of whom he is currently the captain of.

To find out more statistics and highlights of his career click HERE
Brian Lara

Brian Lara

Brian Lara

*Acknowledgements to Cricinfo.com, Google.com, Wikipedia.com.

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