A boy called Sabina - The Best Will Column


Wednesday, January 14, 1998

HAVING achieved his two major ambitions at the almost full four months before his 29th birthday, Brian Lara will be making up as he goes along.

That is bad news for England.

Lara was named the new West Indies captain-not, mind you, just for the tour by England which ends in early April-last Wednesday by the West Indies Board.

That was great news for all Trinidadians for most of whom the Prince can do no wrong. But it was bad news for Courtney Walsh.

And because their homeboy had not been forewarned about the loss of the leadership mantle, much of Jamaica found the news hard to swallow.

Which, with the First Test carded for Sabina Park starting on January 29, is bad news for Lara. But bad news for a fulfilled Lara has to be bad news for the opposition.

And so, if they know what is good for them Michael Atherton's Englishmen are now quaking in their boots.

Hear Scyld Berry writing back home to the Daily Telegraph:

``West Indies have been strengthened by the appointment of Brian Lara.(...) The decision is undoubtedly right for West Indies cricket because the captaincy issue would have been an open wound so long as Courtney Walsh carried on.

``Now that he is in charge, Lara will strut like Mark Taylor from slip to slip at each over's end, the focus of attention. He moves with the swagger of Richards and the confidence can only rub off on junior players who have not known inspiring leadership.''

Berry adds that ``The effects will be beneficial not only for the West Indian batting, as Lara applies himself again....''

That is an understatement, he knows. All England knows. Their memories are not that short....

The Antigua Recreation Ground, April 1994. England had just come back from the humiliation of their lowest score of the 20th century to win-gloriously-at Kensington.

Kensington! The fortress! How dare they defile the sanctum sanctorum where the once invincible West Indians had almost almost been invincible!

Take 375 in yuh rukunkutunkun!

It was not, he would say later, his best knock. That had come a year and a half earlier when he had beaten Mark taylor's Ausrtralians all around the Sydney Cricket Ground to the tune of 277 magnificent runs.

And he called his firstborn Sydney....

Because after that, all else was a matter of record: Sir Gary Sobers' and Hanif Mohammad's should have known he was coming.

But Sobers' 365 had gone unchallenged for many years. In 1997, a mere three years after it was established, Sri Lanka's Sanath Jayasuriya had the audacity to look like overhauling the new mark.

And the Prince without announcing it to the world decided that 375 had to be pushed out of the reach of people like that upstart Jayasuriya....

The Sri Lankan will get his comeuppance. With Sydney alone at home, Walsh now placated, on board, and Jamaica as a whole willing to support, what better way to kill many balls with one bat? Hear Berry again ``He has always believed the captaincy of West Indies has been his destiny and now that time of fulfilment has arrived. He has already climbed Everest himself: in the next three months he will be showing his players how it is done, at England's expense.''

And the new offspring shall be called Sabina.

Source: The Express (Trinidad)

Contributed by CricInfo Management, and reproduced with permission
Date-stamped : 25 Feb1998 - 19:08