The Lara nightmare – A saga in which Australian hopes were repeatedly ground to dust
BEN POBJIE | SEPTEMBER 2016 – http://www.thecricketmonthly.com/
How could I not hate Brian Lara (see stats here)? He was exactly the kind of cocky, flashy show-off that Australians are trained from birth to despise: especially if the show-off is not Australian; and doubly so if the show-off happens to be very, very good. To see a man who is too big for his boots is anathema for many an Aussie fan. To see the same man demonstrate that, in fact, he fits into those boots perfectly is utterly unbearable.
My memories of Lara are mainly of frustration, of games that my beloved Australia would have won easily were it not for this contemptuous aristocrat standing in the way, plundering great and average bowlers alike. And he did it with such a born-to-rule attitude that you grew to hate the sight of him.
He had an arrogance that you never sensed in Sachin Tendulkar, his rival for the title of world’s best and a much harder man to hate. When in full flight, Lara batted like an angry lord horsewhipping a servant: he didn’t just obliterate bowlers, he behaved as if it was sheer impertinence for them to even dare bowl to him.
If anything, the fact that Lara barely participated in the era of West Indian invincibility made him all the more loathsome. Marshall, Garner, Holding and Ambrose battered and crushed Australia; Richards, Greenidge, Lloyd and Richardson flayed them; but to hate these men seemed pointless. They were grand and terrifying, so clearly on another level that their feats were merely the natural order of things.