375 and more
In Antigua and Barbuda in 1994 when the West Indies were playing England at the Recreation Ground, Lara was at his best. He seemed invincible at the wicket and all he needed were partners to stay long enough with him at the other end.
Lara was batting so well and so comfortably that Gary Sobers left for Antigua with the knowledge that Lara was going to break his record of 365 – a world record that was there for 36 years. Sobers said that he wanted to be there to see it for himself and to be part of cricketing history. Sure enough, Lara did it. He surpassed Gary Sobers’ record and notched the new record to 375. The world was at Lara’s feet and Trinidad and Tobago confirmed him as the Prince of the twin-island Republic.
Lara gained endorsements from an array of manufacturers and became an instant millionaire, perhaps the first West Indian cricketer to have achieved that feat in history.
Less than two months later, playing county cricket in England, Lara set another world record when he battered the ball for consecutive days and amassed an amazing 501, the highest individual score in first class cricket. Durham had made 556 in the first innings. Lara, playing for Warwickshire, responded with 62 fours, 10 sixes off 427 balls to get his record-breaking 501. Hanif Mohammad was the previous record holder with 499.
While to us as West Indians, first class cricket may not be as important as test cricket, Lara’s feat was readily appreciated at the international level among countries with a sports culture and whose players and sports fans are decidedly knowledgeable.
Lara was confirmed as the batting genius in the game.
Playing against all of the countries of the world, Lara showed that there was no bowler who would one day go unpunished by his batsmanship.
One recalls the systematic destruction of Australia in the Caribbean in 1999 when in Jamaica the spectators had entered the arena armed with placards to taunt him for having taken away the captaincy from their own Courtney Walsh.
Lara’s batsmanship was such that he scored a wonderful 213 that left the same Jamaican cricket fans paying homage to his batting genius and eventually sat on their own signs in amazement.
Lara does it again
375 and more