Lara Man

Somebody once said that when it comes to the two greatest batsmen of the modern era you're either a 'Lara Man or a 'Tendulkar Man'. Well, ever since I saw him make 152 against England at Trent Bridge in August 1995, I've been a Lara Man.

I haven't written about him here before as he hasn't been doing much since I started this blog in July, but his 216 against Pakistan in Multan is resonant confirmation that, with his 38th birthday on the horizon, he remains as potent a batting artist as ever.

With Tendulkar you get as much technical quality as you could possibly want and a good many shots which are so sublime that nobody else around (except possibly Lara) could play them. Lara, though, exhibits an even more remarkable brand of brilliance, distinguished by the priceless ability to play really large innings when they're most required, comprising periods of studied defence and coruscating attacking shots, all emanating from the most distinctive backlift in the game. It's possible, occasionally and if everything goes right, to keep Tendulkar relatively quiet. It's much, much harder to do so with Lara.

I'm old enough to have seen Viv Richards, Greg Chappell and Gavaskar at their best, but I firmly believe Lara to be the greatest batsman I've ever seen and it looks likely that he'll be back in England again next spring.

I will certainly be at Lord's and possibly Chester-le-Street. I hope he's there too.

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