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Brian Lara

A hero, a magician, a match-winner, an entertainer, Brian Charles Lara

A hero, a magician, a match-winner, an entertainer, Brian Charles Lara, is a former West Indian international cricket player, widely acknowledged as one of the greatest cricketers of all-time. Brian Lara will forever be remembered as one of the greatest batsmen of the modern era, alongside the elite company of Sachin Tendulkar, Ricky Ponting and Jacques Kallis.

No man in world cricket made batting look so sublime, so indelibly stamped with genius. The twinkling of the toes as he went down to meet the ball, the pull played with a straight bat with both feet off the ground, the angled bat finding gaps through the off side was just incredible to watch.

Lara topped the Test batting rankings on several occasions and holds several cricketing records, including the record for the highest individual score in first-class cricket. Armed with a high backlift, generating that typical Caribbean flourish, Lara was equally efficient against spin and pace.

Born on May 2, 1969, Lara initially excelled in junior soccer and table tennis but it was cricket which really drew him. At the age of 14, he earned his selection in Trinidad Under-16 team. In 1990, Lara became Trinidad and Tobago’s youngest captain, leading them to victory in the one-day Geddes Grant Shield.

Lara made his international Test debut for West Indies against Pakistan, scoring 44 and 5. Right after the Test though he was banished to the domestic circuit and returned to the biggest stage only after the departure of Viv Richards. Lara 277 in the fifth Test against Australia in Sydney was the turning point of the series as West Indies won the final two Tests to win the series 2 – 1.

He is the only batsman to have ever scored a hundred, a double century, a triple century, a quadruple century and a quintuple century in first class games over the course of a senior career. In the year 1994, he broke his countryman Gary Sobers’ long standing record for many decades by scoring a brilliant 375. Just after a week, he broke he scored 504* to break the world record of Hanif Mohammed’s 499 for the highest individual score in first-class cricket.

In 2004, Lara became the first batsman to reclaim the highest individual Test score record by scoring a 400* against England, in the process breaking Hayden’s 380. Lara’s match-winning performance of 153 against Australia in Bridgetown, in 1999 was also the stuff of legends.

Throughout his career, Lara battled within a team that increasingly became a shadow of their glorious past. In 1991, Lara amassed 688 runs in the three match away Test series against Sri Lanka making three centuries. These extraordinary performances led Muttiah Muralitharan to state that Lara was the most dangerous batsman he had ever bowled to. After Sachin Tendulkar, Lara was the only batsman to score over 10,000 runs in both forms of the game.

In April 2007, Lara confirmed his retirement from all forms of international cricket. In 131 Test matches he scored 11,953 runs with an average of 52.89 which includes 34 centuries and scored 10,405 runs in 299 One Day Internationals.

Lara was awarded the Wisden leading Cricketer in the World awards in 1994 and 1995 and also received the prestigious BBC Overseas Sports Personality of the Year. In 2012, he was inducted to the ICC’s Hall of Fame at the award ceremony held in Colombo.