“There is a widely held and quite erroneous belief that cricket is just another game”, Duke of Edinburgh had remarked. It would be an equally erroneous belief to consider Brian Charles Lara as just another cricketer.

Brian Charles Lara – as a jingle of yesteryears used to say – bas naam hi kaafi hai.

We can talk about his many records and an impressive stack of statistics on the cricket pitch, but we would rather talk about the magic that mere numbers cannot capture.

Take a moment and think of one player in the history of the game who had to take the burden of a team as mediocre as the Windies team of our generation, and take that for more than a decade. Chances are that you would come up with a naught.

And yet, even that is not the biggest reason for making him a special player. He was a special player because he made people fall in love with the game; just about the way he himself asked the crowd that had jammed in for his farewell match. The resounding chorus of a ‘yes’ was always going to be boringly expected.

Bat raised high in the air, the weight poised on a bent front knee, the eyes low and level – that’s how we shall always remember you. And yes, we shall also remember you by the way the timing and placement of your shots made the fielders around you look ridiculous.

For the sake of putting numbers beside tricks, here are his career statistics:

Tests Matches:
Matches:     131
Runs:    11,953
Highest:    400 not out
Average:    52.88

One Day Internationals:
Matches:    299
Runs:    10,405
Highest:    169
Average:    40.48

For one last time, here’s a little bit of trivia about Lara:

  • Brian is 10th of his parents’ 11 children;
  • Brian was in the football and table tennis junior teams of his country;
  • Brian had joined Harvard Coaching Clinic at the age of 6
  • He had made his debut against Pakistan and had made 44 & 6
  • When he made 400 no, he had become the first batsman ever to reclaim a Test world record
  • He bowled leg breaks too!

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