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West Indies has produced some of the great men to have played the game of cricket. Be it Gordon Greenidge, Viv Richards, Malcolm Marshall, Garfield Sobers, Clive Lloyd… the list is endless. But one name which simply cannot be missed is that of Brian Lara, who was one of the greatest batsman of the modern era. Brian Lara was born on May 2, 1969, in Santa Cruz, Trinidad and Tobago. The ‘Prince’ as he was popularly known had his own swagger with the bat that was incomparable. In an illustrious career he brought up man records and broke several others.
During his career, Lara was often compared to India’s cricketing legend Sachin Tendulkar but the two always had a great mutual admiration. While Tendulkar stacked up his set of records Lara stood out for his brilliant innings that he played one after the other. Brian Lara has the highest individual score in Test cricket of 400 not out for the West Indies against England in 2004. He also holds the record of the highest first class cricket score of 501 not out for Warwickshire against Durham in 1994. Lara amassed his world record 501 in 474 minutes off only 427 balls. He has several other cricketing records to his credit.
Some of his other famous innings of all time include his 213 and 153 not out to single-handedly beat Australia in 1998-99 series.
Lara’s 153 against Australia in Bridgetown (1999) is regarded as the best knock ever in the fourth innings of Test cricket. Wisden rated it as the second greatest innings in Test cricket after Sir Don Bradman’s 270-run knock in the 1937 Ashes. While West Indies were set a target of 308 in the fourth innings, at one point they were tottering at 105/5 . It was then that Lara showed his mettle and guided the West Indies team to an improbable win with just one wicket remaining.
Throughout his career Lara has earned the respect of not only his teammates but also from the opposition. Muttiah Muralitharan, rated as the greatest Test match bowler ever has hailed Lara as his toughest opponent.
Meanwhile, Lara was also awarded the Wisden Leading Cricketer in the World awards in 1994 and 1995. He is also one of the three cricketers to receive the prestigious BBC Overseas Sports Personality of the Year. The other two in this elite list are Sir Garfield Sobers and Shane Warne.
Another interesting aspect is that he is the only man to have reclaimed the Test record of the highest score. This was after he scored 375 against England in 1994 which was broken in 2003 by Matthew Hayden when he scored 380. Lara then scored 400 not against England in 2004. With this innings he also became the second player after Bill Ponsford to score two first-class quadruple-centuries.