Brian Lara
source: created by Prashant Kumar Banjare

In 2006, Brian Lara was controversially handed the captaincy for a third time, much to everyone’s surprise. His past two attempts at leading the team were met with mixed results – some that resulted in successes, while others in failures.

While it was Lara who made the most impact runs-wise, cricket is ultimately a team sport that requires every player to contribute for a successful outcome. Even as some contests make it a one-man show, it ultimately isn’t a one man game.

Despite the fact that Brian Lara had never taken to the captaincy a third time with great relish, his team mates backed him. They trusted his experience as a campaigner and recognising him as one of the best players in their group.

His first test was Zimbabwe and his team had a successful outing against them. However, the real challenge still lay ahead – a five-match ODI Series against India.

And it would be here where Lara’s mettle would be tested and the Prince would cut a blazing dash.

However, Greg Chappell, the new coach of India, noted that Windies had lost their knack for winning games. This apparently motivated the skipper Lara and the rest of his team to give India a tough time on the field.

The series between India and West Indies kicked off at Jamaica, with the first two matches being held there. India won the first match while West Indies competed in a thrilling second match and emerged victorious.

Despite not standing out for the first two games, Brian showed great enthusiasm while leading his team and displayed tremendous prowess by making excellent moves – ensuring a victorious outcome against the adversaries.

In the third match, most of Brian’s younger teammates put on a valiant effort and kept their team in the game. However, it wasn’t until the fourth match at his home ground in Trinidad that Brian finally stepped up and delivered a stellar performance to ensure victory for his side.

In 2007, the Cricket World Cup was set to take place in West Indies and Brian, who was honest about his career as captain and player, announced that the 5th match of the series in Trinidad would be his last ODI game and Brian Lara celebrated his last one-day international game in Trinidad in style by guiding the West Indies to a 19-run win against India.

The incredible 4-1 series win provided the team a massive boost of morale and confidence for the forthcoming World Cup exactly a year later. Brian acknowledged the crowd of Trinidad and Tobago and other Caribbean nations after emerging victorious in the series.

He expressed his sincere gratitude for their unwavering support, saying “I’m sure this was my last ODI here and it’s been great. The crowd was magnificent and I’d like to thank the people of Trinidad and Tobago and the rest of the Caribbean, I really appreciate their support.”

Despite the West Indies’ dismal performance in the 2007 World Cup, Brian remained unfazed and always ready for any challenge that came his way. He never spoke a word about the lack of help from other members of the team.

Upon announcing his retirement prior to his last international match, the legendary left hander expressed his willingness to surrender all of his records in order for the team to be successful.

Great show of spirit on the part of someone, who sadly even today is misunderstood by some West Indies fans for being selfish.


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