February 21, 2020
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Up There

"He has some characteristics and a set of priorities I am not very clear about," says the tiger on the WI run machine.

Up There
Up There
Brian Lara, for some strange reason, doesn’t remind me of anybody in particular. None of the legendary left-handers of my time anyway. Gary Sobers, for one, too had a high back lift like Lara, but then Lara moves a lot more around the crease than the great all-rounder. Lara looks too fidgety at the crease and, to me, it looks like a flaw. That’s why his defence looks weak, although it can be very stylish. As a left-hander he has some natural advantages but it will be interesting to see how he plays Harbhajan Singh and Anil Kumble who have created a fair few problems for left-handers. But I would bet on Javagal Srinath to trouble Lara the most, possibly outside his off stump.

If the Indians want to succeed against Lara, which I think would be paramount for their success in the series, I think they would have to attack him very early and get him out as fast as they can because once he gets going, he scores very big centuries. He is a player who has shown that he deals in double and triple centuries on his day. And he scores fast. He has got into trouble often because of his attitude, and he has some characteristics and a set of priorities I am not very clear about but they don’t seem to have helped him a lot.

But then everybody has his own way of going about things. I cannot comment on specifically why Lara didn’t do well as captain because I really don’t know the reasons. As a batsman, in or out of form, he has always been regarded as up there at the top of the heap. These rankings keep changing. Sometimes he is regarded as number one, sometimes he is not. But yes, he is up there. He will always be remembered as the finest player of his times. But between Sachin and Lara, I believe that Sachin is a better all-round batsman in terms of technique and temperament.

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