Brian Lara started his journey with the national side while delivering the 2017 MCC Spirit of Cricket Cowdrey Lecture at Lord’s on Monday (September 4). Lara spoke about his international foray, moments that embarrassed him in the 90s, disharmony between the board and the players and much more. Excerpts from the lecture:
The most embarrassing moment in the 90s, and the need for the best to be true leaders
I grew up at a time when WI dominated the world. For 15 years from 1980, they didn’t lose a single Test series. And just before that reign started, Colin Croft decided he was going take a little piece out of Fred Godall’s shoulder and ran into him in a Test in New Zealand. Michael Holding decided he was no longer a cricketer, he was a footballer. One of the players was making a long run and he kicked the stump towards him. I was still a very young person. There was no TV in my place so I didn’t really understand what was going on. And what was news today was chicken and chips paper the next day.
But I am sure the occurrences during those periods had a big effect on cricket. I was asked by the late Richie Benaud to say a few words after my last Test in Adelaide. I went on stage and thanked my teammates and the Australian public, and immediately went to the Australian cricket team room – members of the best cricket team in the world – and I let them know how exactly I felt. They had the respect of the rest of the world and they needed to show the way and ensure that world cricket saw them as leaders. Not just on the field, not just with fierceness and dominance on the field, but how the game should’ve been played.
Father’s dream come true, a flying kit bat and some rain watching – the International foray
I remember the first time I was a West Indies cricketer. It was 1989. It was the most poignant moment in my life. India were in West Indies and they were playing an Under-23 team at St Kitts and I got some runs. And I got drafted into the West Indies cricket team. I was only 19. I had no clue. I left St. Kitts and went to work in Angostura, which was a rum and bitters company. One of my co-workers called me and said, ‘your dad is on the phone’. ‘Did you hear the team?’ he said. I said, ‘what team are you talking about?’ He said, ‘the West Indies team.’ I said, ‘No, I didn’t’. He said, ‘you’re on the team’. I couldn’t believe that my old man’s dream came true.