Nomological Net

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faults in the clouds of delusion

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Farewell, Prince!

Truly, he had diamonds on the soles of his shoes.
(And I mean everybody here will know exactly what I'm talking about.)


Brian Lara steps out at the Queens Park Oval for the last time in a one-day international, 28 May 2006

I started following your career nearly twenty years ago. I watched as you batted, in front of our eyes instigating reactions usually reserved for descriptions of those who had gone well before. Every record you broke, I saved the photograph. You are truly the greatest batsman of our era, the peaks you scaled so much higher than the peaks of any other batsman I have seen, yet achieved through aesthetic grandeur that was scarcely credible. I hope I never forget the sight of the flourish of your backswing, your bat whipping down like a wand from up on high, creating brilliant breathtaking magic. "Have I entertained you?" you asked. Yes, maestro, as I stood and clapped for you last night, as I wiped a little tear from the corner of my eye, a tear that wells up again now reminding me of these twenty years that have passed, I knew that I am happy I can say that in my life I saw you play.

Thank You, Brian Century Lara! I hope your life post-retirement is dignified, peaceful, and satisfying.


21 Comments:

Blogger Abi said...

I have watched Lara play only occasionally (and only when he played India), but I know quite a few serious cricket fans who just adore this man.

Thanks for this wonderful tribute to BL. I will pass it on to some of my Lara-crazy friends.

4/22/2007 1:54 PM  
Anonymous Shripriya said...

I watched him bat in the Caribbean in the past few weeks. Even some of those knocks were amazing...

I will really miss him. Thanks for this piece.

4/22/2007 2:01 PM  
Blogger GhostOfTomJoad said...

By the time I got down to watching the match Mr. Marlon Samuels had already run the great man out. But, yeah, what a player! One of the handful it has been a joy to watch.

But, sorry TR pal, I'm going be the dissenter :-) Disagree completely with two assertions: "truly the greatest batsman of our era" and "aesthetic grandeur". I know this is the time for Sachin-bashing and completely denying the man any credit but he is, by far, the greatest player of this generation. Sure, this is a matter of personal opinion but I'm a little surprised about the second bit because towards the end of his career, his tons of runs notwithstanding, Lara had become jumpy, awkward and ungainly, especially at the beginning of his innings. It was all too common to see him shuffle in that strange way to the off stump and leave his leg stump all exposed.

Without a shadow of doubt, he was a truly great player. I'd say he is one of the top two of this generation...but not the best because that spot is taken by one SRT! :-)

4/22/2007 4:42 PM  
Blogger km said...

OK, I am confused. Has Lara retired already (on May 28, 2006, as per that caption) or has he not?

/I have NO clue about this business, but someone please explain how one can compare an SRT to a Lara. Or indeed, any two sportsmen.

//It's been 20 years since Lara first played? I still think of him as a newbie. Thanks for making me feel *really* old, TR.

4/23/2007 12:12 AM  
Blogger Saket Chaudhary said...

great player, terrible captain?

4/23/2007 2:03 AM  
Blogger Revealed said...

R.I.P

4/23/2007 10:23 AM  
Blogger Tabula Rasa said...

abi:
thanks. yes, he reserved his best for when he wasn't playing against us :-)

shripriya:
lucky you! (glad you got back in one piece ;-)

ghost:
aha, i knew the sachinistas were lurking! unload the chip from the shoulder, friend, saying that sachin is not "by far the greatest" is not "denying the man any credit" :-D

as far as i'm concerned one judges greatness on two dimensions: statistics and aesthetics. statistics-wise, unfortunately sachin doesn't match up -- as a single example, lara held and regained the highest score, sachin never managed his country's top score. aesthetics are much more subjective, of course, but here i'd say there have been plenty of *indians* who have been easier on the eye than him -- azhar, kambli, ganguly, and laxman come to mind at once.

my comments were about the peks that lara scaled, but even if one were to judge greats by the troughs they fell to -- lara's leg stump shuffle vs. sachin's sitting ducks? and how about the number of times sachin has gotten bowled off the inside edge -- good batsmen aren't supposed to leave gaps between the bat and the pad!

km:
may 28, 2006 was lara's last innings at queens park oval, his home ground.

comparing two sportsmen -- easy, all you need is an opinion.

re: number of years -- it's closer to seventeen, in case that helps you hold off on ordering the toupee.

saket:
oh absolutely. hard person as well, if some reports are to be believed. but then think about the other geniuses of our time -- shane warne, wasim akram...

revealed:
ouch. not yet!

4/23/2007 10:54 AM  
Blogger GhostOfTomJoad said...

This debate can probably go on and maybe someone will even write a book about it some day...so, we'll just stick to our respective guns :-)

However, there is one thing I must say...stats and averages and highest scores aren't always what you should judge a player on. Because if you did, poor Viv Richards and Sunil Gavaskar would rate way below the batsmen of this generation. Richards never held the record for the top score for his country and never made a triple hundred in Tests but is widely acknowledged as the best batsman of modern cricket.

4/23/2007 12:37 PM  
Blogger Deaths Head Roy said...

Damn......what a master batsman...."Tendul"-who??

4/23/2007 12:57 PM  
Blogger MockTurtle said...

Agree completely, but I still can't get over that moron Samuels calling him half way down the pitch and then waving him back again. And all with that innocent village idiot expression on his childish face.
Anyway, aside from all that, Lara the man never really appealed to me like Lara the cricketer. Remember that hissy fit to get Dhoni out? Or all those tantrums with the West Indies cricket board?
Rahul Bhattacharya (that swell named cricket journo) wrote here about a conversation with a Jamaican cabbie who said this of Lara; "'im like a child, like my likka son at home: 'im want captaincy, 'im must get captaincy; 'im wan' to bat at number five, 'im must bat at number five; 'im don't want captaincy any more, 'im t'row it back; 'im don't wan' play, 'im don' play, 'im never care if the team need 'im. No, bredren, West Indies parform better without him."

4/23/2007 10:16 PM  
Blogger Revealed said...

@tr: He scaled peks, did he? Hahahahaha.

I think it's time. Both for him and Sach. Nuf! Time to step down. Gracefully! And move on.

Also agree with wise cabbie :). While Sach has always been uniformly boring and PC, Lara has normally been an irritating spoilt brat. Thankfully, none of us had to live with either of them. As batsmen though both of them are kinda over the hill and I don't see any steady, over-all contribution from either!

4/23/2007 10:50 PM  
Blogger Tabula Rasa said...

ghost:
that's what i said, greatness is judged on two dimensions. (and to my mind, lara's greater than viv -- all things told.)

roy:
um, you might know her better as "rajni".

mt:
what to say about samuels, esteemed phone conversationalist with bookies?
i read that piece by r-butt, btw, and thought the cabbie's sentiments were spot on except for that last bit, which we shall find out about very soon.

revealed:
ha! yes, peks, indeed.
so bcl steps down gracefully. one wonders whether srt is still looking forward to world cup 2011.

4/23/2007 11:57 PM  
Anonymous bandafbab said...

I´d give Lara the nod as the greatest of the era. SRT´s performances since the 2003 World Cup have been pretty average, unlike Lara who´s continued to play like he used to. Watching SRT these days is a bit embarassing, while Lara was still a joy till the end.

I was as diehard a fan of SRT as anyone else, but seeing him unable to play a single good knock against a good bowling attack in the last few years makes me wonder if he´s playing only for the records.

4/24/2007 1:50 AM  
Anonymous bandafbab said...

I can never resist a cricketing debate. But I think the greatest player of this generation (late 80s to now) is Wasim Akram. I´d put Lara, Warne, McGrath and Murali after them. SRT would probably be 5th.

4/24/2007 5:58 AM  
Blogger Tabula Rasa said...

bandafbab:
hah! i knew you wouldn't be able to resist this one :-D
yesterday i was thinking about who in modern times (debut after 1980, say) i'd call "the greatest", and i too decided on lara, warne, and wasim for the top, top tier.

4/24/2007 9:44 AM  
Anonymous bandafbab said...

Can never resist a cricket debate with people who know cricket. No matter where I am. It´s a pity that apart from Gavaskar, all subcontinental players have made such undignified exits - Imran, Miandad, Bedi, Kapil, Azhar. Hope SRT is aware of that compared to how Warne and McGrath left.

4/24/2007 9:04 PM  
Blogger Tabula Rasa said...

interesting thought, that. i hadn't thought of it that way. srt, unfortunately, seems to be a little deluded right now.

4/25/2007 12:10 AM  
Anonymous perspective inc said...

It just feel slike a whole era in cricket is over and the game is just spiralling downward..in India anyway!But loved your post...

4/25/2007 1:08 AM  
Blogger Tabula Rasa said...

perspective:
thank you :-)
yes, an era is indeed ending, isn't it? just think of all the people who've already retired this year.

4/25/2007 10:45 AM  
Anonymous bandafbab said...

Even I feel like retiring. From what, I don´t know. (Hint - Kramer heading to Florida)

4/25/2007 9:31 PM  
Blogger Tabula Rasa said...

maybe you could just get a retread instead.

4/26/2007 11:00 AM  

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