|Lara: Hands tied. Foot in mouth!|
|by Gulu Ezekiel|
|Jul 07, 2006|
Brian Laras bitter outburst at the presentation
ceremony at the end of the fourth Test at Sabina Park
was both poorly timed and in bad taste.
It also smacked of sour grapes and a spoiled brat
attitude, something of which I had earlier accused him
of after his shenanigans in the first Test match in
which he pressured both the umpires and Mahendra Singh
While the Caribbean media and cricket community was
split on its support to Lara in that particular
casehow the ICC let him off the hook still
ranklesthis time around they have been unequivocal in
their condemnation of their captain.
Ever since he burst onto the international scene with
a bang in 1994, Laras life has spiraled downward into
one series of confrontations after another, both on
and off the cricket field, even as his form has
sometimes hit sublime heights.
Twelve years ago Lara stunned the sporting world as he
first set the world Test match record (375; since
broken by himself) and then the first-class record (an
unprecedented 501 not out) in the span of 40 days.
But within a year he publicly claimed cricket is
ruining my life and almost walked out of the 1995
tour of England.
The last decade has been one of turmoil and
triumphsometimes in a bewildering mixfor both the
West Indies and their master batsman and on/off
captain, now into his third term.
Losing to India for the first time on their soil in 35
years was apparently the last straw.
Right through the series Lara exhibited a siege
mentality that led him to be ultra-defensive in his
captaincy and defeatist in his thinking and
This was all the more bewildering considering the home
side had shown real signs of a revival after winning
the ODI series 4-1. This after losing the first game
at Sabina Park and against opponents ranked way above
them in the ICC rankings.
But after conceding a big first innings lead in the
opening Test at St. Johns, Antigua and being
outplayed for more than two days, the tourists came
back strongly and were on the brink of victory. It
took a terrific display of defiance by the tail-enders
to save the Windies bacon.
Already cracks were showing and Lara now stepped up
his confrontation with the selectors.
Whatever be the rights and wrongs of the issue,
washing dirty linen in public Lara-style was the last
thing West Indian cricket needed, what with the World
Cup being staged there early next year.
The height of Laras petulance came in the second
innings of the Kingston Test. When Harbhajan Singh got
one to turn sharply past his bat, he sarcastically
applauded in the direction of the groundsman.
Ironically, his young batsmen showed the way in almost
taking their side to victory and Harbhajan was largely
ineffective in the second innings. This only exposed
Laras hollow claims that the pitch had been prepared
to suit Indias bowlers.
The defeat on top of his own poor form set off the
fuse that exploded in full public view, shaming in the
eyes of the world, not only the captain himself, but
worse still, the entire Caribbean cricket set-up
It also sadly obscured the fact that his team had some
real gains to show and that a 1-0 defeat was not all
that bad after all.