Brian Lara – Cricket Player
Full name: Brian Charles Lara
Date of birth: 2 May 1969 (age 47)
Place of birth: Santa Cruz, Trinidad and Tobago
Height: 5 ft 8 in (1.73 m)
Batting style: Left-handed
Bowling style: Right-arm leg break
Children: Sydney (born 1996), Tyla (born 2010)
Brian Lara, in full Brian Charles Lara was born on May 2, 1969, in Cantaro, Trinidad. He is a formar West Indian cricketer, one of the sport’s most renowned contemporary players. The compact left-handed batsman is the record holder for most runs scored in an innings in both Test (international) and first-class cricket.
Lara also holds the record for the highest individual score in a Test innings after scoring 400 not out against England at Antigua in 2004. He is the only batsman to have ever scored a century, a double century, a triple century, a quadruple century and a quintuple century in first class games over the course of a senior career. Lara also shares the test record of scoring the highest number of runs in a single over in a Test match, when he scored 28 runs off an over by Robin Peterson of South Africa in 2003 (matched in 2013 by Australia’s George Bailey).
Lara’s match-winning performance of 153 not out against Australia in Bridgetown, Barbados in 1999 has been rated by Wisden as the second best batting performance in the history of Test cricket, next only to the 270 runs scored by Sir Donald Bradman in The Ashes Test match of 1937. Muttiah Muralitharan, rated as the greatest Test match bowler ever by Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack, and the highest wicket-taker in both Test cricket and in One Day Internationals (ODIs), has hailed Lara as his toughest opponent among all batsmen in the world. Lara was awarded the Wisden Leading Cricketer in the World awards in 1994 and 1995 and is also one of only three cricketers to receive the prestigious BBC Overseas Sports Personality of the Year, the other two being Sir Garfield Sobers and Shane Warne.
Brian Lara is popularly nicknamed as “The Prince of Port of Spain” or simply “The Prince”. He has the dubious distinction of playing in the second highest number of test matches (63) in which his team was on the losing side, just behind Shivnarine Chanderpaul (68).
Childhood and Educational Life
Brian Lara was born on May 2, 1969, in Cantaro, Trinidad. He was the 10th of 11 children. His father Bunty and one of his older sisters Agnes Cyrus enrolled him in the local Harvard Coaching Clinic at the age of six for weekly coaching sessions on Sundays. As a result, Lara had a very early education in correct batting technique. Lara’s first school was St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic primary. He then went to San Juan Secondary School, which is located on Moreau Road, Lower Santa Cruz. A year later, at fourteen years old, he moved on to Fatima College where he started his development as a promising young player under cricket coach Mr. Harry Ramdass.
Aged 14, he amassed 745 runs in the schoolboys’ league, with an average of 126.16 per innings, which earned him selection for the Trinidad national under-16 team. When he was 15 years old, he played in his first West Indian under-19 youth tournament and that same year, Lara represented West Indies in Under-19 cricket.
Lara has dated former Durham County Cricket Club receptionist and British lingerie model Lynnsey Ward. During the West Indies tour to Australia in late 2000, Lara was accompanied by Ward.
(Lara with his wife)
Lara is the father of two girls one called Sydney (born 1996) whom he fathered with Trinidadian journalist and model Leasel Rovedas. Sydney was named as a tribute to one of Lara’s favourite grounds, the Sydney Cricket Ground, where Lara scored his first Test century- the highly acclaimed 277 in the 1992–93 season. His second daughter Tyla was also with Leasel Rovedas she was born in 2010.
In 1990, aged 20, Lara became Trinidad and Tobago’s youngest captain, leading them to victory in the Geddes Grant Shield. In that year he made his Test debut, scoring 44 and 6 against Pakistan.
1987 was a breakthrough year for Lara, when in the West Indies Youth Championships he scored 498 runs breaking the record of 480 by Carl Hooper set the previous year. He captained the tournament-winning Trinidad and Tobago, who profited from a match-winning 116 from Lara.
In January 1988, Lara made his first-class debut for Trinidad and Tobago in the Red Stripe Cup against Leeward Islands. In his second first-class match he made 92 against a Barbados attack containing Joel Garner and Malcolm Marshall, two greats of West Indies teams. Later in the same year, he captained the West Indies team in Australia for the Bicentennial Youth World Cup where the West Indies reached the semi-finals. Later that year, his innings of 182 as captain of the West Indies under 23 XI against the touring Indian team further elevated his reputation.
No-one since Bradman has built massive scores as often and as fast as Lara in his pomp. Even his stance was thrilling – the bat raised high in the air, the weight poised on a bent front knee, the eyes low and level. Then the guillotine would fall, sending the ball flashing to the boundary. In the space of two months in 1994, Lara’s 375 and 501 not out broke world records for the highest Test and first-class scores, but sudden fame turned him into a confused and contradictory figure. During an inventive but largely fruitless spell as captain of a fading team, Lara reiterated his genius by single-handedly defying the 1998-99 Australian tourists with a sequence of 213, 8, 153 not out and 100. For a while, excess weight and hamstring problems hampered his once-lightning footwork, and the torrent of runs became an occasional spurt. But after Garry Sobers suggested a tweak to his flourishing backlift, Lara returned to his best in Sri Lanka in 2001-02, with 221 and 130 in one Test and 688 runs – a record 42% of West Indies’ output – in the series, and reclaimed the captaincy the following year.
In January 1993, Lara scored 277 versus Australia in Sydney. This, his maiden Test century in his fifth Test, was the turning point of the series as West Indies won the final two Tests to win the series 2–1. Lara went on to name his daughter Sydney after scoring 277 at SCG.
He has the highest individual score in both first-class cricket (501 not out for Warwickshire against Durham in 1994) and Test cricket (400 not out for the West Indies against England in 2004). Lara amassed his world record 501 in 474 minutes off only 427 balls. He hit 308 in boundaries (10 sixes and 62 fours). His partners were Roger Twose (115 partnership – 2nd wicket), Trevor Penney (314 – 3rd), Paul Smith (51 – 4th) and Keith Piper (322 unbroken – 5th). Earlier in that season Lara scored six centuries in seven innings while playing for Warwickshire.
He is the only man to have reclaimed the Test record score, having scored 375 against England in 1994, a record that stood until Matthew Hayden’s 380 against Zimbabwe in 2003. His 400 not out also made him the second player (after Donald Bradman) to score two Test triple-centuries, and the second (after Bill Ponsford) to score two first-class quadruple-centuries. He has scored nine double centuries in Test cricket, third after Bradman’s twelve and Kumar Sangakkara’s eleven.
Lara captained the West Indies from 1998 to 1999, when West Indies suffered their first whitewash at the hands of South Africa. Following this they played Australia in a four-Test series which was drawn 2–2, with Lara scoring 546 runs including three centuries and one double hundred. In the second Test at Kingston he scored 213 while in the third Test he scored 153* in the second innings as West Indies chased down 311 with one wicket left. He won the Man of the Match award for both matches and was also named Man of the Series.
The Wisden 100 rates Lara’s 153 not out against Australia in Bridgetown in 1998–99 as the second best innings ever after Sir Donald Bradman’s 270 against England in Melbourne in 1936–37.
He was reappointed as captain against the touring Australians in 2003, and struck 110 in his first Test match back in charge, showing a return to stellar performance. Later that season, under his captaincy, West Indies won the two match Test series against Sri Lanka 1–0 with Lara making a double century in the First Test. In September 2004, West Indies won the ICC Champions Trophy in England under his captaincy.
In March 2005, Lara declined selection for the West Indies team because of a dispute over his personal Cable & Wireless sponsorship deal, which clashed with the Cricket Board’s main sponsor, Digicel. Six other players were involved in this dispute, including stars Chris Gayle, Ramnaresh Sarwan and Dwayne Bravo. Lara said he declined selection in a stand of solidarity, when these players were dropped because of their sponsorship deals. The issue was resolved after the first Test of the series against the touring South African team.
In April 2006, after protracted dispute between the West Indies board and the players union (WIPA), he was reinstated – for the third time – as West Indies captain. Lara’s leadership in the five-match one-day home series against India came in for much praise as the tourists were knocked over 4-1, but in the succeeding Test series he struggled. His captaincy was erratic – inspiring in parts, questionable on many occasions – though he later revealed that his hands were tied due to peripheral issues related to team selection.
On 16 December 2006 he became the first player for the West Indies to pass 10,000 One Day International runs. along with Sachin Tendulkar one of only two players, at the time, to do so in both forms of the game. On 10 April 2007 Lara confirmed his retirement from one day cricket post the 2007 Cricket World Cup. A few days later he announced that he would in fact be retiring from all international cricket after the tournament.
On 23 July 2007 Lara agreed to sign for the Indian Cricket League. He is the former captain of the Mumbai Champs. He volunteered to play for his home team Trinidad during the start of 2008 domestic season. He had not played for Trinidad for the last two years. He made his comeback a memorable one with a match winning hundred over Guyana, followed by a dismissive undefeated half-century in the second innings, scored at over two runs per ball. In the third round game (Trinidad got a bye in the second round).
In 2013, Lara became involved with the Bangladesh Premier League team Chittagong Kings as their ambassador.
Lara struck 277 runs against Australia in Sydney, his maiden Test century, the fourth highest maiden Test century by any batsman, the highest individual score in all Tests between the two teams and the fourth-highest century ever recorded against Australia by any Test batsman.
He became the first man to score seven centuries in eight first-class innings, the first being the record 375 against England and the last being the record 501 not out against Durham.
After Matthew Hayden had eclipsed his Test record for highest individual score 375 by five runs in 2003, he reclaimed the record scoring 400 not out in 2004 against England. With these innings he became the second player to score two Test triple centuries, the second player to score two career quadruple centuries, the only player to achieve both these milestones, and regained the distinction of being the holder of both the record first-class individual innings and the record Test individual innings. He is the only player to break the world record twice.
In the same innings, he became the second batsman to score 1000 Test runs in five different years, four days after Matthew Hayden first set the record.
He was the all-time leading run scorer in Test cricket, a record he attained on 26 November 2005 until surpassed by Sachin Tendulkar on 17 October 2008.
He was the fastest batsman to score 10,000 (with Sachin Tendulkar) and 11,000 Test runs, in terms of number of innings.
He scored 34 centuries; joint-fifth along with Sunil Gavaskar, on the all-time list behind Sachin Tendulkar (51), Jacques Kallis (45), Ricky Ponting (41) and Rahul Dravid (36).
He has the most centuries for a West Indian
Nine of his centuries are double centuries (surpassed only by Kumar Sangakkara and Donald Bradman)
Two of them are triple-centuries (matched by Australia’s Donald Bradman, India’s Virender Sehwag, and West Indies’ Chris Gayle).
He has scored centuries against all Test-playing nations. He achieved this feat in 2005 by scoring his first Test century against Pakistan at the Kensington Oval in Bridgetown, Barbados.
He became the sixth batsman to score a century in one session, doing so against Pakistan on 21 November 2006.
Lara has scored an 20% of his team runs, a feat surpassed only by Bradman (23%) and George Headley (21%). Lara scored 688 runs (42% of team output, a record for a series of three or more Tests, and the second highest aggregate runs in history for a three-Test series) in the 2001–02 tour of Sri Lanka.
He also scored a century and a double century in the third Test in that same Sri Lanka tour, a feat repeated only five other times in Test cricket history.
He has scored the most runs (351) on a losing side in a Test.
He scored the largest proportion (53.83 per cent) of his team’s runs in a Test (221 out of 390 and 130 out of 262). He eclipsed the long-standing record of 51.88 per cent by the South African J. H. Sinclair (106 out of 177 and 4 out of 35) against England at Cape Town in an 1898–1899 series.
Lara holds the world record of scoring most runs in a single over (28 runs against left-arm spinner RJ Peterson of South Africa) in Test cricket. He also scored 26 runs in a single over off the bowling of Danish Kaneria at Multan Cricket Stadium on 21 November 2006.
He scored the ninth fastest Test century, doing so off 77 balls against Pakistan on 21 November 2006.
With 164 catches, He is the eighth all-time catch-taker of non-wicketkeepers, behind Rahul Dravid, Mahela Jayawardene, Jacques Kallis, Ricky Ponting, Mark Waugh, Stephen Fleming and Graeme Smith.
In 1994, he was awarded the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Overseas Personality Award. In 1995, he was chosen as one of the Wisden Cricketers of the Year.
Comfortably averaging over 50 per innings (the benchmark for batting greatness in Test cricket), Lara has been ranked the number one batsman in Test cricket in the PricewaterhouseCoopers Cricket Ratings several times.
Lara has played some of his best innings in recent years. Wisden published a top 100 list in July 2001, a distillation of the best performances from 1,552 Tests, 54,494 innings and 29,730 bowling performances. Three innings by Lara were placed in the top 15 (the most for any batsman in that range). His 153 not out in Bridgetown, Barbados, during West Indies’ 2–2 home series draw against Australia in *1998–1999 was deemed the second greatest Test innings ever played, behind Bradman’s 270 against England in the Third Test of the 1936–1937 series at Melbourne.
Awards and Honours
Lara was inducted into ICC Hall of Fame in January 2012.
Brian Lara was appointed honorary member of the Order of Australia on 27 November 2009.
In 2013, Lara received Honorary Life Membership of the MCC becoming the 31st West Indian to receive the honor.
Lara was awarded the Wisden Leading Cricketer in the World awards in 1994 and 1995 and is also one of only three cricketers to receive the prestigious BBC Overseas Sports Personality of the Year, the other two being Sir Garfield Sobers and Shane Warne.