A Trinidadian former international cricket player, Brian Lara has made shocking revealition about his erly days in cricket and has also admitted there were times he was "truly embarrassed" by the behaviour of the West Indies side he represented.
Lara, delivering the MCC Spirt of Cricket Cowdrey lecture at Lord's claimed that he also became Sir Viv Richards' driver on the tour, but never got a chance to play a Test match.
"I was the perpetual water-boy in those days. Viv Richards asked if someone wanted to bowl and I immediately put up my hand...I bowled leg-breaks and googlies and eventually I bowled 7 overs and said I was done. But he threw the ball back at me. By the end of the day my figures were 25 overs none for 130," Lara said.
"Viv Richards threw the keys of the car he was gifted, towards me, and he sat at the passenger's seat. After that I knew all the roads in England as I became his driver, the only strip that I wanted to drive on was the 22 yards on cricket field but I never got a chance to play on that tour." the record holder for the highest individual Test score added.
The former West Indies captain also congratulated West Indies team for the recent win over England, in the second Test match at Headingley, which was the Caribbean side's first in 17 years on English soil.
"I say this with no malice and sarcasm as I think the astonishing performance of the young and inexperienced West Indies team in Headingley would have been applauded in every county in England. If there is one team that all of England wants to do well is the West Indies." Lara added.
Lara also took dig at Geoffrey Boycott for his degrading comments about the West Indies cricket team.
"A former England cricketer said that this is the worst team he has seen in 50 years of seeing, playing and commentating on cricket, it wasn't warranted but he said it, and everyone wanted the West Indies cricket team to stand up and be counted for and that's what they did and I want to congratulate them for the effort," the southpaw said.
Lara also became second West Indian cricketer to deliver the lecture.
"The highest-ranked team in the world has the responsibility to ensure that the integrity of the game is upheld every single time they play," Lara said.
"And that the spirit of cricket is with them every time they enter the field.
"I grew up at a time when West Indies dominated the world. For 15 years from 1980, the West Indies never lost a Test series. And just before that, Colin Croft decided he was going to take a piece out of Fred Goodall's shoulder and ran into him during a Test Match. Michael Holding decided he was no longer a cricketer, he was a footballer and he kicked a stump. I'm sure the occurrences during that period had a big effect on cricket."
But Lara's lecture didn't go well with one of the best bowlers for the West Indies during the period of the 70s and 80s, Michael Holding who dismissed Brian Lara’s criticism of his conduct during West Indies’ 1980 tour of New Zealand, saying he has “never been interested” in the batting great’s opinions.
“I am not interested in whatever Brian Lara says. Never was, never will be,” that was Holding’s blunt response when PTI asked him to comment on what Lara said against the 63-year-old while delivering the lecture at Lord’s last Monday.
It is well-known that both the West Indies’ greats, Lara and Holding are not the best of friends. During the MCC lecture, Lara spoke about he was “embarrassed” by the unsportsmanlike conduct of the West Indies in the 80s and 90s.
He specifically spoke about an incident that took place during the series against New Zealand in 1980, when Holding kicked the stumps in frustration.
“Michael Holding decided he was no longer a cricketer, he was a footballer and he kicked a stump. I am sure the occurrences during that period had a big effect on cricket,” said Lara at Lord’s.
While Lara took the opportunity to slam Holding yesterday, the “whispering death” has accused the legendary batsman of “getting away with murder” during his reign.
Holding, speaking to PTI over the phone from London, also spoke about the much hyped comparison of Sachin Tendulkar and Virat Kohli, especially after the latter completed 30 ODI hundreds in the just concluded series against Sri Lanka.
“There is a long long way to go (before he gets close to Tendulkar’s record) but he is certainly a great batsman,” said Holding. Asked if Kohli is a a better batsman compared to Tendulkar or vice-versa, the Jamaican added: “Well, I don’t like comparisons.”
Though Kohli himself has said he is not chasing Tendulkar’s mind-boggling 100 international hundreds, the 28-year-old already has 47 centuries to his name. India have an envious Test record under Kohli with the team winning recently winning its eighth series in a row, albeit most of them were won in the sub-continent.
Holding said time will only tell if the current Indian team can win outside the sub-continent. The team has tough tours of England and South Africa lined-up next year.
“I don’t know. They have to do it to prove it. The proof of the cake is in the eating. So we will just have to wait and see what they do (outside the sub-continent). You can’t predict these things,” Holding said.
(With PTI inputs)