Apr 12, 2007
Brian Lara retires... an ode to a legend.
After WI's huge defeat on Monday against SA in the Super-8 match of the World cup, I think it was much expectant that some sort of backlash would follow the 4 defeats in a row. Perhaps dropping the coach, or removing Lara from captaincy.
But it was really sad to hear that Brian Charles Lara, the kingpin of WI cricket for the last decade and a half, would be retiring from One Day cricket. A real mainstay of WI cricket, I believe he was one of the main reasons WI cricket hasn't fallen out of the face of the international media.
I remember his innings against SA (his favourite team) in the last 2 WCs. He's probably the reason SA hasn't taken the Cup yet (amongst other factors). His backfoot late cuts is probably one of the most stylish shots in World cricket. Hmm.. now there's a good tag... Maybe I'll work on it at the end of this post...
I've not been fortunate enough to watch him live. Hopefully he'll do a tour of SA sometime soon. But his legacy in ODI cricket as a batting star and a respectable captain will surely be missed. His role as captain in this latest ill-fated ODI was probably one of the most disastrous of his career, and there's little doubt his postponement of the Power Play against SA was the major factor in the opposition reaching that high score, and setting the team on the backfoot for the 2nd half of the match. Perhaps, he was imitating the wily Ponting's strategy from the game before that. Ponting's decision to postpone the last Power Play was sheer brilliance, Lara's looked like he was expecting a miracle. A real pity given his experience in the game.
Anyhow, his prowess was with the bat, in the middle of the field, with shots that made any opposition look tame. He's gonna be leaving a large vacant space in the ODI team, and its gonna take a real talent to fill his shoes.
Best cricket shots in the world:
1. Backfoot late cut to 3rd man: Brian Lara's favourite shot. Very stylish, easy single, resonably safe... Don't recall him every inside edging it to his stumps. Very elegant.
2. Frontfoot/Backfoot cover drive to long off: Sachin Tendulkar's very best. The little master's massive bat made the shot look like a movement in a ballet. His backfoot drive must be the most difficult shot ever - to be able to place it through the gaps and follow through with that straight bat is pure elegance. Another of his classic shots is his lap of the ball on his pads to the mid-wicket boundary.
3. The hook/pull shot to the on-side: Definitely not Ricky Ponting's only weapon in his armory, but I really believe he's the only player that can pull (pun intended) the shot without any difficulty (or clumsiness). Its a very elegant shot, thats a definite winner especially when its sails over the rope. I'm sure many bowlers have reconsidered bowling the shot ball to him after nothing his prowess.
4. The sweep (6): The late Hansie Cronje's favourite shot. Down on his knees, neat swing of the bat - the sweep 6. A very difficult shot to pull off - especially since the one knee is on the ground while the hands do all the hard work. Its a really beautiful shot, and a real pity its not seen anymore.
5. The reverse sweep: I'll be honest, I don't think any player has mastered this stroke. Many players in Bob Woolmer's SA team were quite inept at playing this stroke, but I've not really noticed it being played with conviction (i.e. off the middle of the bat). Paul Nixon's 6 off Murali was a once off - doesn't count :)