Who is your favourite batsman of all time? For me it’s probably Brian Lara. Even though I’m a Worcestershire and England supporter, and Lara played for rival teams, I don’t think there’s any batsman I’ve enjoyed watching more. He was so flamboyant, elegant, powerful, and quite simply unique.
That high back-lift, those dancing feet, those incredible hands, and that amazing flourish will always stay with me. World cricket today has a number of exciting players but they’re not in the same class as Brian Charles Lara. I loved him so much that I wanted to call my daughter Lara. But my wife intervened and we named her after a maid from a fictional Torquay hotel instead.
The reason I bring this up is because Sam Lockyer from independent film company Iconic Productions has been in touch. He’s in the process of making a film about Brian Lara, which focuses on his record breaking 501 not out against Durham but also discusses his 375 against England and his impact on the game in general.
Sam is paying for the film via a crowd-funding campaign on the Indiegogo website. Here’s a link where you can see the trailer / teaser (which includes interviews with Curtly Ambrose and Ian Bell) and most importantly make a contribution. The campaign features some amazing perks for cricket fans including digital downloads of the film pre-release, a special thanks in the credits, limited edition Brian Lara 501 T-shirts, T20 & Ashes match tickets and much more.
If all goes to plan the film will be released next summer, which will mark the 25th anniversary of Lara’s 501. I remember the day well. I was playing cricket at school and everyone was talking about it. Being a Worcestershire fan I sobbed when he went past Graeme Hick’s 405, but as he approached 500 I think everyone was firmly behind him. It’s just insane thinking about that innings now. I can’t remember the last time that England registered 500 as a team let alone one bloke making this amount of runs on his own.
I don’t think any player has dominated world cricket in the same way since Lara was breaking records in the mid-1990s. Steve Smith might have a huge average, and obviously Sachin Tendulkar will always have his diehard supporters, but none of them quite had the allure of Lara. He was brilliant against all types of bowling, off front foot and back, and could turn a match on its head in a session. Of all the batsmen I’ve ever seen I think only Viv Richards was his equal. It’s also worth remembering that Lara often had very little support and played in some relatively poor Windies teams.
Give Sam’s film a look. The crowdfunding campaign runs until the 8th December. If you can spare some cash to help out then I know he’ll be really grateful. Independent cricket films are always worth supporting.
It’s worth remembering the run of hundreds he had leading up to the 501 as well. I agree Lara was the most thrilling batsman of his generation, though in all honesty Tendulkar rates higher as a run machine and Dravid probably too on the ground of consistency. Then again, other than DGB I don’t think there has been a batsman in history who has made such big scores so often.
The problem for Lara was that he started with WI still number one and they fell so badly across his career, with expectations on him ramping up absurdly.
We can only guess what might have been the case if he had played under Lloyd. One can imagine some demoralised teams getting murdered by Lara coming in to join Richards at 250-2. But then he might not have scored as many runs as he would not have needed to.
That’s a good point actually. He might have only batted once per test in the great Windies teams. They were so dominant.
Very frequently he would only have had one hit per test, especially at home. The Australians toured once under Hughes and the Windies didn’t lose a single second innings wicket. I imagine Lara would have averaged about 60 but with a lower aggregate.
The 153* against Australia in Barbados probably the finest innings I’ve ever seen in the best test match I ever saw. 4th innings, 300+ to win, McGrath, Warne at their peak plus Gillespie,c100 for 5, 240 for 8.
I remember that game too. Absolutely brilliant.
Only Viv would rank higher among the players I’ve seen (I just missed Sobers).
Like Viv he played on a little too long and his final career average doesn’t reflect how dominant he was at his peak.
Barry Richards – nothing more to be said.