Brian LaraCricket is a beautiful game, especially the longer five-day version. But earning a livelihood does no longer allow me the privilege of watching a Test in total. I cannot even watch a One-Day if it goes on till late in the night (haven’t watched a single Twenty20 match till date). There are some extraordinary cricketers who add more beauty to this beautiful game. Brian Charles Lara is one such cricketer.

In an anti-climax of a climactic career, often as the lone ranger, he was run out for a lowly 18 in his last international appearance. But that wouldn’t take away any credit from the man and his abilities. Often accused of being a selfish player, like another contemporary great Sachin Tendulkar, Lara amassed a lot of records. Some of which will take a long while to break.

Often during my school and college years, friends would call up at odd hours and ask me to turn on the TV to watch Lara play. And I religiously did, because it was a real pleasure watching the master in action. But that magic was waning. And he was right to rest his bat.

Many feel that Sachin should also follow Lara’s act (and also Inzamam’s, but Pakistani cricketers have a reputation of coming out of retirement), but India’s injury-ridden-and-fickle-form sensation still has a few years left in him, so does Saurav Ganguly. But Ganguly is not at the same level as Sachin and Lara.

Lara should now focus on grooming talent for West Indies, where the game is dying a slow death, and ensuring that he is not the last cricketing great to emerge out of the amalgamation of islands.

Now I’ll have to watch archival footage of the Prince in play to say “Lara, kya hain mara!”

[Photo courtesy: Caribbean Free Photo]
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