By Neto Baptiste
Former batting great Brian Lara was too hasty to take over the reins of West Indies cricket.
This is according to former fast bowler and Lara’s former teammate, Sir Curtly Ambrose, who said the Trinidadian, who was first appointed captain in a 1996/7 home series against India, was the natural successor to then leader Courtney Walsh and should have simply waited his turn.
“Brian Lara, to me, was too hasty to lead the West Indies team. We knew he was going to be the natural successor to Courtney Walsh because when Courtney Walsh became the captain he [Walsh] had a couple of years left in him and all Brian Lara had to do was just wait on his turn because Courtney was doing a fairly good job,” he said.
Under Lara’s leadership, West Indies played 47 Tests, winning 10, losing 26 and drawing 11. Sir Curtly believes he found the job much tougher than he anticipated.
“He was too anxious to be the captain and there was no competition because once Courtney left the scene he would have
[gotten the job]
but he realized it was not as easy as he probably thought. A lot of people were upset for him with that because he made it public that he wanted to be the captain; he campaigned for it and to me, it was disappointing,” he said.
Despite his unimpressive record as captain, Lara did extremely well as a batsman, topping the Test batting rankings on several occasions. He also 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. It is the only quintuple hundred in first-class cricket history.
Lara also holds the record for the highest individual score in a Test innings after scoring 400 not out against England here at the Antigua Recreation Grounds, in 2004.