As a young cricketer, it was always my dream to play on the West Indies team with Brian Lara, Courtney Walsh, Jimmy Adams and many others. When that day finally arrived, I had the opportunity to be mentored and led by these great cricketers.
When I was younger, I saw Brian Lara break Sir Garfield Sobers record in Test cricket. But it was during my eight (8) years tenure with the West Indies cricket team, that I got to witness Brian Charles Lara break his second record, when he made his 400 in Antigua. I even had the honor of playing with him in that innings, when he broke his own record. What an occasion it was. I will never forget that moment.
In 1999, I became aware of another great batsman from India, by the name of Sachin Tendulkar. I met Sachin personally when the West Indies played India in Singapore (1999) when I went on to win man of the series. Word on the street back then was that Sachin Tendulkar was a better batsman than Brian Lara. Certainly no on can argue with the fact that Sachin was very consistent with the bat. He broke several records.
Most recently, the question was raised my friends from India, ” Who is the better batsman?” There is no straightforward answer to this question. These men both had illustrious careers and represented their countries well. Both men are record holders, great batsmen and living legends. Sachin Tendulkar holds more international records than Brian Lara. He has the highest number of runs in both Test and ODI cricket. On the other hand, Brian Lara has the highest individual score in test innings. He is the only batsman to ever score a century, double century, triple century, quadruple century and quintuple century in first class games.
At the end of the day, it all comes down to whose batting style you prefer and whose record means more to you . For me, I love and admire the batting style of Brian Lara and his record means more to me. Brian’s records are harder to break, and I am talking from the perspective of a batsman. I saw him play hard and “rally round” the West Indies. Brian Lara broke difficult records, and the numbers don’t lie. It is hard to find another batsman who can score runs at the triple, quadruple and quintuple century levels.
He was great with the bat and mentally strong. To be an outstanding athlete you have to develop mental toughness and Brian Lara was a master at that. (I am not saying that Sachin was not mentally tough, I cannot speak to his mental abilities, as he was not my team mate). But I can attest to that of Brian’s. His mental abilities and talent, enabled him to make and break records. The only other West Indian cricketer who has the mental strength comparable to that Brian Lara’s (in my opinion) is Chris Gayle. With amount of cricket being played these days I won’t be surprised if another batsman breaks Sachin’s record of highest number of runs in both versions of the game.
So for all those reasons listed, I have to give Brian Lara the edge over Sachin Tendulkar. Sachin on the other hand is a phenomenal cricketer who continues to be a legend home and abroad. I admire how the people of India 🇮🇳 celebrates and honors him. And that is why he can be perceived as being greater.
Sachin is revered by his people for his exceptional cricket abilities and years of service. Brian on the other hand, is yet to be honored properly by the West Indies Cricket Board, for maintaining the legacy started by Sir Garfield Sobers, Sir Vivian Richards and others. Brian Lara gave his life to West Indies Cricket and only just got a stadium in his name (the finest cricket stadium in the entire Caribbean).
In the final analysis, it does not matter who is the better cricketer. They are both great, not to mention, great friends .
What bothers me though, is the fact that Sachin is celebrated more by his people while Brian is not. Maybe the people of the Caribbean can learn a thing or two from the people of India and learn to celebrate their legends and athletes when they are alive. One thing I know about Brian Lara is how much he celebrates and respects his former cricket colleagues and legends like Sir Garfield Sobers and others.
It makes me sad when I see people all over the world celebrating our West Indian hero, my former team mate and captain and he is not given the same level of respect in the West Indies. West Indies Cricket Board is constantly looking on the outside for “cricket experts” yet the current record holder, who resides right under their nose, is grossly underutilized. What ever the reason, it is time for West Indians to “rally around” our living legend. It is not enough to give him titles, give him the opportunity to create better cricketers and to make West Indies Cricket great again.
P.S your feedback is welcome😂
by Ricardo L. Powell