Brian Lara happy that people in Dubai can 'touch' his famous bats
These bats, the prized possessions in Lara's life, have arrived in Dubai from the Melbourne Cricket Ground where it was on display for a year
Of all the iconic names, only Brian Charles Lara came close to achieving in cricket what Diego Maradona famously did in football. Like the mercurial footballer who performed miracles for average teams -- Argentina and Napoli – with that magical left foot, it was the left-handed Lara that carried the West Indies, the fallen giants, on his shoulders, conjuring knocks of epic proportions.
And the bats with which the Prince of Trinidad played his three record-breaking knocks – 375, 501 not out and 400 not out – are now on display for a month at the TJ’s, a sports café in Dubai.
These bats, the prized possessions in Lara’s life, have arrived in those shores from the Melbourne Cricket Ground where it was on display for a year.
During an interview with Khaleej Times on Thursday, the former West Indies captain spoke about these bats and the one which is at his home in Trinidad.
Q. These bats, when you look at them, how does it feel? The fans in Dubai would be like kids with toys when they see them and touch them…
These are my weapons. These are the weapons I used during my playing days to carve out a career that I have today. They are cherished. Whenever you look at them, you know, they have given me memorable moments. They are part of my life, and the people, they have an opportunity to touch them, to come close to them. I feel there is a joy in that.
Q. And where’s that bat with which you almost single-handedly won two Test matches for the West Indies against the mighty Australians in 1999?
That’s at home. It didn’t make the trip to Australia, but that’s definitely one of my cherished bats as well.
Q. You must be enjoying your life as commentator, traveling around the world, seeing new talents..
You know it’s been tremendous. I have had my time on the cricket field, it’s great to see the game has evolved, it’s great to see all these young players, and the not-so-young players like the Virat Kohlis and the AB de Villiers and what they have brought to the game. I think the game has definitely improved. Obviously, back in my day, there was not a T20 version. I think that’s been a great addition. It brings crowd into the game. So I think the game is heading in the right direction.
Q. Glad you have spoken about De Villiers. They don’t talk about him when they name the best batsmen in cricket now…
That’s maybe because he’s not playing international cricket anymore. I mean playing in the IPL is great, but you need to be in international cricket. The likes of (Joe) Root, Kohli, (Kane) Williamson and (Steve) Smith, they are playing for their country. But it doesn’t take anything away from AB de Villiers, I think he has had an astonishing career. And he continues to do so in the franchise teams.
Q. The West Indies continue to produce exciting T20 talent. But what does the recent Test series win in Bangladesh mean because your team was not at full strength and these days Bangladesh is not an easy country to play Test cricket in?
It’s a great victory. As you said, we were not at full strength. It’s difficult for most teams to play in Bangladesh now, the pitches there suit their type of cricket, their bowling and their batting. So I am very proud of the guys that they had gone there and played amazing cricket in those conditions. It gives the young players coming in the self-belief they need because a lot of people were not expecting the West Indies to win the series. They have to carry that confidence into the other series and perform as a team and see if they can replicate that sort of form and the fighting spirit.
Q. Lot of former players have backed the idea of taking one of the shorter formats to Olympics…
Olympics is the pinnacle of sports. It’s one sporting event that’s so diverse. Your eyes are glued to the television in the 100 metres, the swimming, you know. The eyeballs are on it. So if they get cricket into the Olympics, it will be tremendous. To have an Olympic gold medal will be tremendous for cricketers coming up.
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