It is an unfortunate reality that while we here in the Caribbean sought after any and every possible issue about which to abuse Brian Lara, the rest of the international cricketing community saw his genius, appreciated it and were willing to lie prostrate before him even if he did not score big in their presence.
The South Africans were not prepared to go to the cricket if Lara did not make the team on that fateful first tour of South Africa.
In India, scores of cricket aficionados moved around the nation just to catch a glimpse of this cricketing magician.
In Australia the legendary Donald Bradman declared him the best he had ever seen while on his way to scoring the most impressive 277 the world has ever known. Shane Warne and Glen McGrath have accredited Lara as being top of the heap, well ahead of anyone in their time, including their own Steve Waugh and India’s Sachin Tendulkar.
In Sri Lanka, Muttiah Muralitharan sees him as one of the greatest batsmen of all time.
In England they see Lara as having no equal in the game.
In New Zealand they credit him with pure cricketing genius.
In Pakistan the greats have lauded him year after year. Danish Kaneira credits Lara with being able to do what no other player has been able to do: read the spin on the ball from his hands. “He is a fantastic timer of the ball. He sees the ball from my hand and reads it so well which is the sign of a great player.”
Here at home in the Caribbean, Lara is a spoilt brat – nothing to do with his game. We harass him for not smiling while he arrives at the airport. We have identified him as selfish and uncaring. He has been given all sorts of negative nomenclatures and many feel it necessary to boast, “we don’t like him”.
The Lara Chronicle
In 1990, in Karachi, Pakistan, Lara played his first One Day International against the home team. He scored 11 and was trapped leg before by Waqar Younis. Later that same year, Lara replaced Carlisle Best on the West Indies Test team and made his debut in the third Test against Pakistan at Lahore. He made 44 and 5 in a drawn match.