Two troubled bats
According to manager Wes Hall’s report, Brian Lara complained that “cricket has ruined my life” after walking out on the West Indies team after the fourth Test during its 1995 tour of England.
It was a comment based on the weight of high expectations the incomparable left-hander, already holder of Test and first-class record scores, took with him every time he went to the crease for West Indies.
It required the intervention of Peter Short, West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) president at the time, to convince him to return. At a meeting at the Castle Hotel in Taunton, Short told Lara his reputation was based on cricket; it would be the greatest mistake of his young life if he were now to throw it all down the drain.
Lara returned to reel off two hundreds – 152 and 179 – in the last two Tests of the drawn series. Other fluctuations followed in a mercurial career that lasted 16 years; they did not prevent him creating a legacy as the most unforgettably entertaining batsman of his generation.
Unspecified “personal reasons” are all that Darren Bravo, Lara’s young cousin and unmistakable replica, now presents for declining selection on the imminent tour of South Africa; it was the same when he cut short his tour of New Zealand last January.
We can only conjecture what they might be; the same as Lara’s in 1995 would be a fair guess.
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