Wednesday, June 8

...and, awake (on Lara)

Continuing from my previous post, which was a beginning to these thoughts:
Brian Lara’s batting has been sheer magic. It does not seem to matter that the team is crumbling around him (less so, of course, in the Pakistan series), or that age is rapidly demanding some respect. With a typical flash of the blade as his only salutation, Lara is asking age and all other constraints to kindly take a walk, and let him do his what he does best (score boundaries and hundreds).

I find the Fourth Umpire has this to say about Lara’s recent performances:

...what's really startling about this phase of the Brian Lara story is his incredible, almost Bradman-esque consistency. To rack up 3246 runs at 70.57; to score 12 centuries and nine 50s in 27 Tests -- it's an incredible, and incredibly long, run of consistent success.What makes it even more remarkable is the fact that Lara has bucked the trend, and scored these runs as part of a team that has consistently lost almost everything it has played during this period-- how easy can it have been to go out there, innings after innings, and perform in the company of mediocrity.

The question to be asked here is this- the man is now 36 years old. That’s not exactly the prime, even for a bastman (though that was not exactly a question either, but a statement); and while I am not asking for him to suffer a terrible slump and fade away ignominiously, it would be a tad more normal for him just play, well normally. Instead, he is batting like a man possessed, a man who knows that time, despite his overflowing talent, is running short; a man who either has (yet again?) a point to prove, or a man who has no points anymore, only accomplishments. So what’s the secret of his sudden burst of performance?

Secondly, is this despite the team’s mediocrity or because of it? Is he inspired to salvage some pride for his team, or is he scoring by not caring about the burden of team failure that is constantly on him? Is he, in fact,
as is being talked about,(and claimed by the likes of Ridley Jacobs and only bothered about his own achievements, now that it seems to late/ too pointless to try and resurrect his team?

Lastly, where would such a discussion/thought process leave Sachin? Most Sachin supporters (and even those who don’t like him too much) have at some point or the other understood that he performed, through the first half- and more-of his career, despite his team. He has always had to shoulder the burden of lifting India from inconsistency and mediocrity. Whether he has done so or not (which is the cause for much debate, needless to say) is not the point here. What is, is how Lara’s recent (ageing) upward trend compares to Sachin’s recent dull phase. ( I say dull because statistically his consistency is still pretty darned good. Except we all know that some spark is missing-if only seen occasionally), and that he too needs a serious shoot upwards in form and performance to finish (ouch!) his career on a high that goes along with his 1989 talent.

As you can see (if you have go this far) this post is pretty unstructured and random. My idea is not to make a statement. I would like to throw up this question, though, and hopefully the teeming masses who read this blog (ahem) might have some answers or views.

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