Brian Charles Lara (born 2 May 1969) is a former West Indies international cricket player. He is widely acknowledged as one of the greatest cricketers of all time. He topped the Test batting rankings on several occasions and holds several cricketing records, including the record for the highest individual score in first class cricket, with 501 not out for Warwickshire against Durham at Edgbaston in 1994, which is the only quintuple hundred in first class cricket history. Brian Lara also holds the record for the highest individual score in a Test innings after scoring 400 not out against England at Antigua in 2004. He is the only batsman to have ever scored a hundred, a double century, a triple century, a quadruple century and a quintuple century in first class games over the course of a senior career. Brian Lara also shares the test record of scoring the highest number of runs in a single over in a Test match, when he scored 28 runs off an over by Robin Peterson of South Africa in 2003 ''George Bailey achieved this in 2013 against England off of the bowling of James Anderson''.
Brian Lara's match winning performance of 153 not out against Australia in Bridgetown, Barbados in 1999 has been rated by Wisden as the second best batting performance in the history of Test cricket, next only to the 270 runs scored by Sir Donald Bradman in The Ashes Test match of 1937. Muttiah Muralitharan, rated as the greatest Test match bowler ever by Wisden Cricketers' Almanack, and the highest wicket taker in both Test cricket and in One Day Internationals ODIs, has hailed Brian Lara as his toughest opponent among all batsmen in the world. Brian Lara was awarded the Wisden Leading Cricketer in the World awards in 1994 and 1995 and is also one of only three cricketers to receive the prestigious BBC Overseas Sports Personality of the Year, the other two being Sir Garfield Sobers and Shane Warne. Brian Lara was appointed honorary member of the Order of Australia on 27 November 2009. On 14 September 2012 he was inducted to the ICC's Hall of Fame at the awards ceremony held in Colombo, Sri Lanka as a 2012-13 season inductee along with Australians Glenn McGrath and former England women all rounder Enid Bakewell. In 2013, Brian Lara received Honorary Life Membership of the MCC becoming the 31st West Indies to receive the honor. Brian Lara has the dubious distinction of playing in second highest number of test matches 63 in which his team was on losing side, just behind Shivnarine Chanderpaul 68.
Brian Lara is popularly nicknamed as "The Prince". Brian Lara has dated former Durham County Cricket Club receptionist and British lingerie model Lynnsey Ward. During the West Indies tour to Australia in late 2000, Brian Lara was accompanied by Ward. Brian Lara is the father of two girls one called Sydney ''born 1996'' whom he fathered with Trinidadian journalist and model Leasel Rovedas. Sydney was named as a tribute to one of Brian Lara's favourite grounds, the Sydney Cricket Ground, where Brian Lara scored his first Test century the highly acclaimed 277 in the 1992-93 season. His second daughter Tyla was also with Leasel Rovedas she was born in 2010. His father died in 1989 of a heart attack and his mother died in 2002 of cancer. In 2009.
First Class Early Career:
1987 was a breakthrough year for Brian Lara, when in the West Indies Youth Championships he scored 498 runs breaking the record of 480 by Carl Hooper set the previous year. He captained the tournament winning Trinidad and Tobago, who profited from a match winning 116 from Brian Lara.
In January 1988, Brian Lara made his first class debut for Trinidad and Tobago in the Red Stripe Cup against Leeward Islands. In his second first class match he made 92 against a Barbados attack containing Joel Garner and Malcolm Marshall, two greats of West Indies teams. Later in the same year, he captained the West Indies team in Australia for the Bicentennial Youth World Cup where the West Indies reached the semi finals. Later that year, his innings of 182 as captain of the West Indies under 23 XI against the touring Indian team further elevated his reputation.
His first selection for the full West Indies team followed in due course, but unfortunately coincided with the death of his father and Brian Lara withdrew from the team. In 1989, he captained a West Indies B Team in Zimbabwe and scored 145. In 1990, at the age of 20, Brian Lara became Trinidad and Tobago's youngest ever captain, leading them that season to victory in the one day Geddes Grant Shield. 1990 that he made his belated Test debut for West Indies against Pakistan, scoring 44 and 5. He had made his ODI debut a month earlier against Pakistan, scoring 11.
In January 1993, Brian Lara scored 277 versus Australia in Sydney. This, his maiden Test century in his fifth Test, was the turning point of the series as West Indies won the final two Tests to win the series 2-1. Brian Lara went on to name his daughter Sydney after scoring 277 at SCG.
Brian Lara holds several world records for high scoring. He has the highest individual score in both first class cricket (501 not out for Warwickshire against Durham in 1994) and Test cricket ''400 not out for the West Indies against England in 2004''. Brian Lara amassed his world record 501 in 474 minutes off only 427 balls. He hit 308 in boundaries ''10 sixes and 62 fours''. His partners were Roger Twose(115 partnership 2nd wicket), Trevor Penney 314-3rd, Paul Smith 51-4th and Keith Piper ''322 unbroken 5th''. Earlier in that season Brian Lara scored six centuries in seven innings while playing for Warwickshire.
He is the only man to have reclaimed the Test record score, having scored 375 against England in 1994, a record that stood until Matthew Hayden's 380 against Zimbabwe in 2003. His 400 not out also made him the second player after Donald Bradman to score two Test triple centuries, and the second after Bill Ponsford to score two first class quadruple centuries. He has scored nine double centuries in Test cricket, second only to Bradman's twelve. In 1995 Lara in the Test match away series against England, scored 3 hundreds in Three consecutive Matches which earned him the Man of the Series award. The Test Series was eventually drawn 2-2. He also held the record for the highest total number of runs in a Test career, after overtaking Allan Border in an innings of 226 played at Adelaide Oval, Australia in November 2005. This would be later broken by Sachin Tendulkar of India on 17 October 2008 whilst playing against Australia at Mohali in the 2nd Test of the Border Gavaskar Trophy 2008.
Brian Lara captained the West Indies from 1998 to 1999, when West Indies suffered their first whitewash at the hands of South Africa. Following this they played Australia in a four Test series which was drawn 2-2, with Brian Lara scoring 546 runs including three centuries and one double hundred. In the second Test at Kingston he scored 213 while in the third Test he scored 153* in the second innings as West Indies chased down 311 with one wicket left. He won the Man of the Match award for both matches and was also named Man of the Series.
The Wisden 100 rates Brian Lara's 153 not out against Australia in Bridgetown in 1998-99 as the second best innings ever after Donald Bradman's 270 against England in Melbourne in 1936-37.
In 2001 Brian Lara was named the Man of the Carlton Series in Australia with an average of 46.50, the highest average by a West Indian in that series, scoring two half centuries and one century, 116 against Australia. That same year Lara amassed 688 runs in the three match away Test series against Sri Lanka making three centuries, and one fifty including the double century and a century in the first and second innings of the 3rd Test Match at the Sinhalese Sports Ground, equating to 42% of the team's runs in that series. These extraordinary performances led Muttiah Muralitharan to state that Brian Lara was the most dangerous batsman he had ever bowled to.
Brian Lara was reappointed as captain against the touring Australians in 2003, and struck 110 in his first Test match back in charge, showing a return to stellar performance. Later that season, under his captaincy, West Indies won the two match Test series against Sri Lanka 1-0 with Lara making a double century in the First Test. In September 2004, West Indies won the ICC Champions Trophy in England under his captaincy.
In March 2005, Brian Lara declined selection for the West Indies team because of a dispute over his personal Cable & Wireless sponsorship deal, which clashed with the Cricket Board's main sponsor, Digicel. Six other players were involved in this dispute, including stars Chris Gayle, Ramnaresh Sarwan and Dwayne Bravo. Brian Lara said he declined selection in a stand of solidarity, when these players were dropped because of their sponsorship deals. The issue was resolved after the first Test of the series against the touring South African team.
Brian Lara returned to the team for the second Test ''and scored a huge first innings score of 196'', but in the process lost his captaincy indefinitely to the newly appointed Shivnarine Chanderpaul. In the next Test, against the same opponents, he scored a 176 in the first innings. After a one day series against South Africa, he scored his first Test century against the visiting Pakistanis in the first Test at Kensington Oval, Bridgetown, Barbados which the West Indies eventually won.
On 26 April 2006 Brian Lara was reappointed the captain of the West Indies cricket team for the third time. This followed the resignation of Shivnarine Chanderpaul, who had been captain for thirteen months in which the West Indies won just one of the 14 Test matches they had competed. In May 2006, Brian Lara led the West Indies to successful One Day series victories against Zimbabwe and India. Brian Lara's team played Australia in the finals of the DLF Cup and the ICC Champions Trophy where they finished runners up in both finals. On 16 December 2006 he became the first player for the West Indies to pass 10,000 One Day International runs. along with Sachin Tendulkar one of only two players, at the time, to do so in both forms of the game. On 10 April 2007 Brian Lara confirmed his retirement from one day cricket post the 2007 Cricket World Cup. A few days later he announced that he would in fact be retiring from all international cricket after the tournament.
Brian Lara played his final international game on 21 April 2007 in a dead rubber World Cup game against England. He was run out for 18 after a mix up with Marlon Samuels, England won the game by 1 wicket. Before the end of this World Cup Glenn McGrath stated that Brian Lara is the greatest batsman that he has ever bowled to.
On 19 April 2007 Brian Lara announced his retirement from all forms of international cricket, indicating that the West Indies vs England match on 21 April 2007 would be his last international appearance. He was run out after a bad mixup with Marlon Samuels for 18, as England went on to win the match by one wicket. He announced before the 2007 Cricket World Cup that this would be his last appearance in One Day Internationals. After his last match, in the post game presentation interview, he asked the fans, "Did I entertain"?, to which he received a resounding cheer from the crowd, after which he went out and took his 'lap of honour' where he met and shook hands with many of the fans. Brian Lara stated this would be his last appearance in international cricket, he has also indicated his interest in retaining some involvement in the sport. On 23 July 2007 Brian Lara agreed to sign for the Indian Cricket League. He is the former captain of the Mumbai Champs. He volunteered to play for his home team Trinidad during the start of 2008 domestic season. He had not played for Trinidad for the last two years. He made his comeback a memorable one with a match winning hundred over Guyana, followed by a dismissive undefeated half century in the second innings, scored at over two runs per ball. In the third round game ''Trinidad got a bye in the second round''.
Brian Lara suffered a fractured arm against the Leeward Islands in St Maarten on 19 January, which kept him out of the ICL season. He nevertheless affirmed his commitment to returning to T20 cricket, and on 27 June 2010 appeared for the Marylebone Cricket Club match against a touring Pakistan team, scoring 37 from 32 balls. In 2013, Brian Lara became involved with the Bangladesh Premier League team Chittagong Kings as their ambassador. On the occasion of bicentennial anniversary of Lord's ground he played for the team of MCC, under the leadership of Sachin Tendulkar against the Rest of World XI in a 50 over's game.
After the Retirement:
Brian Lara has established the Pearl and Bunty Lara Foundation, which is a charitable organisation in memory of his parents that aims to address health and social care issues. He is an Ambassador for Sport of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, and travels on a diplomatic passport to promote his country throughout the world. Brian Lara received an honorary doctorate from the University of Sheffield on Wednesday 10 January 2007. The ceremony took place at the Trinidad Hilton, Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. On 7 September 2008 he took part in Soccer Aid 2008, and on 6 June 2010 in Soccer Aid 2010, playing for the Rest of the World vs a team of England celebrities and ex pros. Brian Lara was also a talented football player in his youth and often played with his close friends Dwight Yorke, Shaka Hislop and Russell Latapy while growing up together in Trinidad. Yorke, Hislop and Latapy would go on to play for Trinidad and Tobago at the 2006 FIFA World Cup. Brian Lara is also a golf player. He has participated in golfing tournaments throughout the caribbean region and has won titles. In September 2009, Brian Lara was inducted as an honorary lifetime member of the Royal St. Kitts Golf Club. Brian Lara was inducted into ICC Hall of Fame in January 2012.
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