Brian Lara is one of the greatest cricketers of all time, let alone the best the Windies have seen. He has scored the highest first-class score of 501 and highest international score of 400! But ever since that day Brian Lara retired the West Indies have had this massive form slump. Why? Because Brian Lara CARRIED the West Indies team to victory.
Now let me get this straight. I know there are maybe better bowlers and batters with Brian Lara, but just look at this International Test SLUMP by the West Indies. In their four international test series from 2008 they won ONCE, when in 2004, when Lara was in his absolute prime they won four. Major difference right. And the year he retired, 2007, they won… wait, they didn’t win a single test game! So what happened after Brian Lara retired? Why did they do so badly?
Looking at the test squads from when Brian Lara was in his absolute prime (2004) and a year after he’d retired (2008) we can see they are very similar, which just shows how well Brian Lara influenced the Windies team. The West Indies also have a very poor and inexperienced bowling attack. Haven’t you noticed Jerome Taylor is STILL in the squad? He would’ve been very new to International Tests, and that affected him. So with the pressure of Brian Lara having to make big runs to keep his team in the game from their bad bowling attack, but also he had to make even more runs because everyone else has an extremely bad batting average. Only Brian Lara and Shirvene Chanderpaul have an average over fifty, and only seven had an average over fifteen! That’s four batsmen only making around 60 runs combined AT BEST. Now you can clearly see how Brian Lara had to CARRY his team to victory. But what about the games they lost? The games they lost were due to Brian Lara having bad performances. Would his team lift if their skipper fell? No. But Lara wanted to win. So he made unforgettable and amazing performances to carry his team over the line to win matches. And he kept doing it, and they kept winning, until his retirement, when reality struck the Windies that without Lara, they were nothing.
The bad batting averages, the inexperienced bowling attack and the want to win. That is what made Brian Lara the cricketer he is. He needed to lift his whole team onto his shoulders to help the West Indies. And he did.