Light on his feet and delectable with his strokes, the left-handed Brian Lara conjured moments of magic in the arena with grace, style and flair, leaving behind miles and milestones.
Now the strategic advisor and the batting coach of Indian Premier League (IPL) team Sunrisers Hyderabad, the Trinidadian shared his thoughts in an exclusive interview with Sportstar.
You played Muttiah Muralitharan exceptionally well in Sri Lanka. Now both of you are together for Sunrisers Hyderabad…
Murali is a very friendly person and we met at several events. As a bowler, he had so many tricks. When I made all those runs in Sri Lanka, I played him according to the length, rotated the strike and came down the track only when I was sure. It will be great working together.
Footwork is the essence of batting, in any format isn’t it?
Footwork is the fundamental aspect of batting. I would say it is even more important than the hands and the bat. When you get to the ball’s pitch using your feet and get your body in a good position with a still head, you, vitally, achieve balance.
Footwork does not mean jumping down the track alone. You cannot do that to pacemen. So you go back and across and play more off the back foot to the quicks. Batters with footwork will get runs in all formats.
Shane Warne, sadly passed away recently. Your memories of him?
It is an enormous blow. He is the greatest leg-spinner ever. Facing him was a challenge. We’ve been involved in some fascinating duels. But after the day’s play, he would leave everything behind and have a drink with you. As a commentator, he articulated the right issues. His influence was positive wherever he went. A tragic loss.
What do you feel about young cricketers leaving Test cricket for the Twenty20 leagues?
Playing for the country should come first. Because I played for the West Indies, other opportunities opened up for me. It’s disappointing to see young cricketers leaving Test cricket. The ICC should come up with a rule stating a cricketer must play a certain number of games for his country before he can play in the Twenty20 leagues.Something needs to be done.
Master batsmen: Sachin Tendulkar and Brian Lara have a chat ahead of a Test at Kingston, Jamaica, in May, 2002. – V. V. KRISHNAN
The ICC has said ‘Mankading’ will now be considered a regular run-out.
I still feel it is not in the spirit of the game.
Your thoughts on Virat Kohli’s loss of form?
It’s temporary. He’s classy and will be back among the runs.
How would you rate Rohit Sharma as Test captain?
India has a very good team now, irrespective of who is leading the side. To beat Australia in Australia and win the decider with a second or third side speaks much about India’s bench strength and the kind of pacemen it now has. Rohit appears a good captain with a cool head with the respect of all players including Kohli.
You are good friends with Sachin Tendulkar. Can you tell us about him?
To carry the hopes of billions for so many years was sensational. We have always kept in touch, there is mutual respect. What I like the most about Sachin is his humility.