Lara lauds King Kohli's 'professional' Indian team
Brian Lara during an interview with Khaleej Times (Photo by Shihab)
Dubai - Lara doffed his hat to the Indian cricket board
It's been 12 years since Brian Lara decided to hang up his bat, but his heart still bleeds when you ask him about West Indies cricket.
The pain in Lara's voice reminds you of the 1990s and the turn of the new century when his Maradonaesque match-winning heroics failed to get the West Indies out of the doldrums.
And now the sorry state of affairs in West Indies cricket has only made the pain unbearable for the architect of myriad batting masterpieces.
But that didn't stop the Prince of Trinidad from showing his lightning footwork during a special net session with the Gems Heritage Indian School students on a sunny Wednesday morning.
And when this reporter sat next to a man famous for that gorgeous backlift, Lara couldn't stop admiring Virat Kohli's Indian team that have already opened up a huge lead at the World Test Championships with back-to-back wins over the Windies (away) and South Africa (home).
"India are very tough team to beat at home. And now they have the advantage of playing most of their upcoming Test matches at home, so they will be a tough outfit to beat," the former West Indies captain told Khaleej Times.
"They already have developed a lead. It's only going to get wider because of the teams they are going to play against at home."
Lara then doffed his hat to the Indian cricket board.
"India have also travelled better in the last 10-15 years. So, you know, credit must be given to Indian cricket board. Looking at the entire set up, they are very strong wherever they go, wherever they play," he said.
"And they are very well led by Virat Kohli. They are a very professional outfit. Now they have got a new president in Sourav Ganguly. I think Indian cricket could be in a place where they can smile."
West Indies batting legend Brian Lara spoke of the importance of good batting technique during a special net session with students at the Gems Heritage Indian School in Dubai. - Photo by Shihab
And despite Steve Smith racking up mind-boggling numbers in Test cricket, it's Kohli's style of batting that makes Lara smile.
"I think technically Virat Kohli is very sound. Steve Smith is unbelievable. The runs he scored in England, coming back from the ban, is just tremendous," the left-handed magician said.
"But it's great to have that competition. I like Virat Kohli, but that doesn't take away anything from the handful of cricketers that are vying for the top spot. There is Kane Williamson, there is Joe Root and, of course, Steve Smith. All these guys are great cricketers which is great for the game.
"And I agree Smith's technique is unique and yet he knows how to score runs. But, you know, it's a matter of preference, it's the style. It's amazing to see Smith's stats in Test cricket, but if someone is averaging 45 and I like watching him bat, and I will go watch him bat. You could rack up the numbers, it's good, but it's also about the entertainment."
Finally, Lara opened up on the quality of batsmanship in the post-T20 era that has seen some white ball greats struggle to cope with the red ball in tough conditions.
"I think the game has developed. A lot of people tend to think that, you know, in my era or the era before was better. But I think the game has evolved. It's getting better," Lara said.
"For example, the Indian bowling attack that I am seeing now is not something that I was accustomed to seeing back in the day. You had a (Javagal) Srinath bowling, then one more decent fast bowler, couple of good spinners.
"But now their current bowling attack proves that the game has improved.
"And some players have been found wanting and other players have shown that they can survive and play at any level."