Saturday, October 27, 2007


Some commentators used to apply this epithet to Sir Vivian Richards when he was in full swing, carving up an English or Australian attack--and Viv is undoubtedly a cricketing immortal. Who could forget his fastest ever test century, in seventy minutes, on his home ground of Antigua against the long suffering English attack? However, since Viv's retirement, the West Indies team hasn't had so much to celebrate. Amongst the various whitewashes and humiliations one consolation has continually stood out: the consistently brilliant batting of Brian Lara. He started his Test career with an amazing 277 on the Sydney Cricket Ground that reversed the momentum of the series and allowed the West Indies to take home a 2-1 victory. Following on that monumental knock, he racked up 167 and his record-breaking 375 against England in the Caribbean. After this, Lara famously took a position with Warwickshire and ended up hitting eight centuries in nine innings: the first of these was his 375 and the last his mind boggling 501 not out against Durham. Lara has been a consistent scorer in all forms of cricket (including the one day variety) and when Australian Matthew Hayden beat his test record score by 5 runs against Zimbabwe, Lara merely steadied himself before responding with an incredible 400 not out against England; in the process becoming the first man to score 400 in a test match. All in all, Lara scored nine double centuries (and above) in test cricket--a figure only bettered by Don Bradman's twelve. Perhaps his best innings was the match winning 153 not out against Australia which, together with his earlier 213, allowed the Windies to draw a series they really should have lost.

Of course statistics are not everything. Indeed, if one looks only at statistics then one would have to conclude that Sachin Tendulkar was a greater player. However, the truly special batsman lingers in the mind like the taste of a fine wine lingers on the tongue--and one remembers the special moments. Lara has achieved so many of these that his batting has almost become a matter of popular mythology. How can anyone possibly score 501 in a cricket game? How could he have scored both 375 and 400 in test matches? Lara's final figures of almost 12000 runs with 34 centuries and an average of 52 might eventually be eclipsed by both Tendulkar and Australian Ricky Ponting. However, those two have not given us the same cherished memories of improbable possibilities transformed into the most amazing of realities. It is for this reason that I choose Lara principal "Master Blaster" of the present age; a worthy successor to the original "Master Blaster", Viv Richards.


Anonymous boundaryboy said...

Lara is CLASS!

2:00 AM  

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