View Full Version : Lara's technique

December 7, 2003, 12:57 AM
Yes, yes, I know this fanboyism is getting a little tiring. But I stumbled on this on the web and figured it's too good to pass. The writer gives quite a vivid description of Lara's technique:

Indeed, the very first thing you notice about Lara is his backlift - its cavalier audacity. Conventional wisdom has it that a backlift should take the bat to roughly parallel with the surface of the pitch before bringing it down in a crisp quarter arc to meet the ball. But Lara and his backlift make a mockery of conventional wisdom: his backlift is so exaggerated - so mannerist - that it virtually rests on his left shoulder. (Remember, Lara is a left-hander.) Adding further insult to the custodians of correctness is the fact that in Lara's case, his hands twist the bat to such an extent that it is not the blade of his bat that is parallel to the surface of the pitch when it is at its highest point, but its left edge. From such technically suspect beginnings come shots of confidence and beauty, but the game Lara is playing is dangerous. In one sublimely deft, self-correcting motion, the handle rolling in his wrists as the ball speeds towards him, Lara needs to present the bat's full face to the delivery. An angled bat will present outside edges to slips and gully, leading edges to positions in front of the wicket. With such rococo glory for a backlift, errors of timing are ever-present; in Lara's case they are rare.

Lara's backlift is interesting for other reasons: it puts him squarely in a tradition of fearless Caribbean strokemakers, the most obvious of which is Garfield Sobers. Sobers had a similarly high backlift, something all the easier from which to launch himself at bowlers. Like Sobers, Lara's backlift is also a statement of intent. It says: "I'm not here to stockpile singles, to smuggle twos and threes without you noticing. No, I'm here to hit the ball decisively and confidently through the line and over the top if necessary."

From: http://www.suntimes.co.za/2003/02/09/lifestyle/life09.asp

Sunday Times, South Africa.
"Hitting through the line with Brian Lara "
Sunday, 09 Feb, 2003.

December 7, 2003, 01:46 AM

There are others fans that are convinced that Tendulkar has the better technique of the two. They opine that Lara with his high back lift and penchant for on-driving straighter deliveries, square driving wide deliveries outside off and aerial pulls is more prone to get out than the Indian maestro because of his "flawed" technique. This would appear to be a supercilious argument, since a close examination by video of the two in full cry reveals a very interesting story.

Brian Lara:

Watching the little Trinidadian bat, no one except the philistines among us can deny the natural talent Brian Lara possesses. In many respects, Lara is not simply the best batsman of our era, he could stake claim to be the best batsman of all time. At the very least, one could say that he's the most technically skilled batsman since Bradman, videos of whom are often misleading because of the lack of good video technology during the Don's era. Lara commands almost all the shots in the cricket book with unparalleled brilliance. His cut shot is both breathtaking and flexible-like most of the best back foot players he can play it with equal felicity both in front of and behind square. His on drive, probably his pet shot, is ferocious-particularly when played down the wicket against slow bowlers. If it isn't the most feared stroke in world cricket, it should be.

These are two of Lara's favorite aggressive strokes. He also pulls well, but occasionally lifts his right leg when he plays the stroke. Dramatic, yes, but it causes him to lose control of the shot frequently. This probably explains Lara's propensity to pull in the air so often. But the flaw is only occasional (although on the increase in recent years). However, the brutal, thuggish Brian Lara is far less intimidating than Brian Lara the technician. Lara loves to cover drive-the deliberate movement forward, foot pointing towards extra cover, fast bat speed, front foot to the pitch of the delivery and execute with such inch-perfect timing that it makes the ball go rocketing away. Lara's traditional drives, however, are merely good. Lara plays fuller length straight balls incorrectly, preferring to on drive and play it through midwicket.

The most important part of any batsman's repertoire is always the defensive technique. Lara's is better at defense than perhaps any ever in the game. Make no mistake; Lara has all the weapons to play any game he chooses. He could play a game solely off the back foot and lead the world in that respect. He could play a purely defensive game in the Dravid mould and he can play a purely front foot game. In fact, Lara is simultaneously three of the best players at three of the most important traditional aspects of batting: front foot, back foot and defensive technique.

Against spinners, Lara typically tries to step down the track. He rarely sweeps (Lara probably doesn't sweep because he sees this as a kind of lazy shortcut to play slow bowlers-one of Lara's major weaknesses is his fluctuating cricket IQ), defensive spurts are rare and he only plays off the back foot when absolutely necessary. Having eliminated the three alternative methods of playing slow bowling, Lara is left with the most dramatic and challenging method-to advance-almost all the time. To get an idea of this, watch footage of Lara playing Warne in the West Indies in 1999. It's scintillating cricket, where Lara advances and on drives all the time. However, at 33, Lara's age is slowly catching up with him. From a slow bowling perspective, his feet aren't fast enough to now genuinely challenge the Muralis and Harbhajans in that respect, so Lara showed uncharacteristic maturity in playing Murali almost exclusively off the back foot.

Generally speaking, Lara appears to be spoilt with his talent. His shots are so far ahead of other batsmen, and because they are so technically brilliant, he can use them in ways that most batsman simply cannot. However that only takes a batsman so far. Lara, in my opinion, doesn't use his defensive technique nearly enough. He cuts at balls that are too close to his body. He pulls bowlers that are too slow to do so. He overdoes the charge. He unnecessarily lofts his cover drive. He chooses square drives over cover drives simply for the sake of expanding his innings wagon wheel. All this has to do with shot selection: one of the foundations of good batsmanship.

Another important aspect of modern batting, the art of pinching the single, appears to have bypassed Lara's cricketing education. To call Lara a relic or a dinosaur would be exceedingly harsh, but he is not armed with the single-stealing ability that gives many of today's stars their flexibility. Lara is not a modern batsman, like Steve Waugh, Yousuf Youhana, Kumara Sangakkara and especially Sachin Tendulkar. Lara is one of the old guard, the stroke maker, the sharp shooting cowboy who just arms himself with several weapons, all of which have their origins in the early 20th century, and takes on the bowler. There's something decidedly romantic about that vision, and any witness to Lara's 375, 277, 153 not out and various other mammoth scores can only attest to that. Tendulkar, for all his wizardry and versatility, will never be able to truly win over fans like Lara. Warts and all, with his questionable mental abilities over his own game, with his flat out poor shot selection, with his tantrums and with his inconsistency, Lara, in terms of pure skill and technique, still is just better at batting than anyone else in the game.

December 7, 2003, 02:47 AM
Lara's post-match theme was about records: ''I had my sights set
on the 365. When I got to 265 I started counting down. I thought
I could end the day on 300-plus and head for 365 tomorrow.''

This was after his maiden test century of 277 against australia in 1993. He was run out by Damien Martyn.

What batsman can possibly think of breaking the world record for highest test score in his very first century?

It's sheer audacity. It probably came from a self-recognition of his own genius.

December 9, 2003, 05:34 AM
...for me to poop on!

Not my words. it's the wisdom of triumph the insult comic dog! Da 'man' never lies.

December 9, 2003, 01:31 PM
Yes, yes, I know this fanboyism is getting a little tiring.

Only a little? :)

December 12, 2003, 08:57 AM
Originally posted by Orpheus
...for me to poop on!

Not my words. it's the wisdom of triumph the insult comic dog! Da 'man' never lies.

Hehe. I kid...I kid....

December 14, 2003, 03:12 PM
yup Triumph definitely kids. After watching Lara's batting against Peterson, we have witnessed a different side of Triumph. He apologized and said he will never poop on Lara. A deep malaise came on to his fans upon hearing this sad news. Everyone thought he retired again. But it was learned that he will fly to Adelaide to poop on the greatest batsman in the world... Tendulkar.