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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 9 March 2021

West Indies great Brian Lara eyes coaching in franchise cricket

Batting legend's famous bats currently on display in Dubai

West Indies great Brian Lara at TJ's in the Taj Jumeirah Lakes Towers with some of his famous bats. Antonie Robertson / The National
West Indies great Brian Lara at TJ's in the Taj Jumeirah Lakes Towers with some of his famous bats. Antonie Robertson / The National

West Indies cricket legend Brian Lara has done it all on the field and a coaching role in franchise cricket could well be next on his radar.

Lara, who holds the world record for the highest individual score in Test cricket, believes franchise cricket has given players more opportunities, which he too could embrace.

“That’s what international sports is all about with people investing on sporting teams, moving away from that hold where cricket boards had a 100 per cent control of the game,” Lara told The National in Dubai.

“Now we see a lot of people investing their money in sports and I think it’s good for cricket as it expands the game. The players are getting a lot more opportunities than in the past.”

When asked if he would join franchise cricket and play an active role, he said, “Not as an owner. I do my commentaries and I focus there a lot. I think at some point of time in the future, I may take a role as a coach.”

Lara was in Dubai to put three of his record breaking bats – the ones with which he scored 375, 400 not out and 501 not out – on display at Tj’s, a sports cafe at Taj Jumeirah Lakes Towers for a month.

Lara said: “They are part of my life, and the people have an opportunity to touch them, to come close to them and pose for a photo next to them. I feel there is a joy in that.”

Lara’s 375 against England in Antigua in 1994 was the then highest individual score in Test history.

The Prince of Trinidad rewrote history to reclaim that record, also against England, at St Johns in 2004 by becoming the only batsman to score 400 in Tests.

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES. 18 FEBRUARY 2021. Cricketer Brian Lara at TJ's in the Taj Hotel Jumeirah Lake Towers with some of his famous bats on display. (Photo: Antonie Robertson/The National) Journalist: Amith Pasela. Section: Sport.
Brian Lara at TJ's, Taj Jumeirah Lakes Towers, where his most prized bats are on display. Antonie Robertson / The National

His 501 not out for Warwickshire is the highest individual score in first-class cricket, made against Durham in the County Championship in Birmingham in 1994.

“These are bats I used during my playing days to carve out a career that I have today,” Lara said.

Lara was travelling from Australia after the Big Bash and was to fly out to England from Dubai when flights to the UK were suspended.

“Dubai is normally a transit point where I spend some time but recently England has stopped flights coming in from Dubai, and obviously created a little bit of a problem for me,” he said.

“I’ll be travelling to India very shortly, so spending more time here wasn’t a problem for me. There is a legends tournament taking place in India that started in March last year. Then the Covid came in and it stopped. It’s resuming now.”

Lara will join Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag and Muttiah Muralitharan in the Road Safety World Series T20 from March 2 at the newly built 65,000 capacity Shaheed Veer Narayan Singh International Cricket Stadium in Raipur.

Lara said he visits Dubai at least two or three times a year, and that the city is his favourite golfing destination.

“The infrastructure for cricket here is unbelievable for a non-Test playing cricket nation,” he said.

“It’s beyond my playing days but I think all the sporting disciplines are very well looked after, when you look around the football stadiums, tennis, cricket and every single sports.

“The facilities are first class and it’s a great place to be for myself as a sports person. It’s a centre for a lot of cricket with the recent IPL held in Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi. The venue and the facilities are tremendous.”

Published: February 20, 2021 08:59 AM

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