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Lara saluted by the world
All cricketdom arose yesterday to proclaim Brian Charles Lara as the all-conquering king of cricket.
Homage was paid to the Trinidadian left-hander for his super-human batting performance at the Antigua Recreation Ground, where he first reclaimed the record for the highest score in a Test innings and then became the first man in Test history to make a quadruple-century.
His 400 not out off 582 balls came in just under 13 hours and included 43 fours and four sixes. In doing so, he eclipsed the previous batting record of 380 established just six months ago by Australia’s Matthew Hayden.
It took the side to 752 for five declared – the second highest score in West Indies history and the highest by any country against England.
Australian cricketer Matthew Hayden has praised Brian Lara’s “awesome performance” after the West Indies captain broke his batting world record on Monday.
The press continued to praise Lara's achievements as this article from Andy Thornhill shows, compliments of the Nation News
If he has not quite reached the summit in terms of leading men, he certainly has no peers as far as being a complete and inspirational batsman. Lara’s record 400 was superb. I don’t believe that at the start of his innings he intended reclaiming the world Test record. It probably was more about salvaging some lost pride.
Suffering has a way of reinventing who we really are. It puts humility back where it should be – at the top of the tenets we draw on to get back on track once we’ve lost our way and aren’t afraid to admit it. Amid team failure, Lara has always been able to dominate with the bat, but he struggled before going to Antigua.
He is a very proud individual and must have answered that personal call for introspection. The fruits from his stay in the middle suggest strongly that he did. More power to him.
What I found most remarkable about Lara’s achievement was that it came ten years after establishing his first milestone.
Sportsmen, even though they get wiser with age, certainly aren’t likely to have the same level of reflexes, stamina and concentration as when they were younger. In modern sport the exceptions would be people like Linford Christie, Frankie Federicks, Merlene Ottey, George Foreman and Evander Holyfield.
You can add Lara to that august group.
Not only that, apart from talent, the one significant ingredient that makes these people champions is that they are all competitive, they all have a burning hunger to win, to stay at the top of their field. Because of this Lara was in total control from the outset.
A benign pitch notwithstanding, it appeared England could do nothing to disturbed his composure or his mission.
Tuesday 20, April-2004
He was greeted at Piarco International Airport by thousands of fans including Prime Minister Patrick Manning, who announced that the 34-year-old would be made an ambassador of sports for Trinidad.
Bands played calypso music, while the crowd mobbed Lara for a chance to touch him or shake his hand.
There was also a motorcade from the airport to the capital, where a rally awaited him.
PS See what Lara's little girl thinks about it!
Contributing writers Phillip Spooner, Tony Cozier, Hayden Gill and Andi Thornhill.
Photography Brooks LaTouche Photography
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