Lara said he would not have been here today without the inspiration of his father
When West Indies batting legend Brian Lara was inducted into the International Cricket Council (ICC) Hall of Fame on September 15 at the ICC Awards ceremony in Colombo, he dedicated it to his late father, who passed away before Lara started playing for his country.
Lara was accompanied to the event by his brother Winston and sister Agnes.
Upon being inducted, Lara said: “This person you see today before you accepting this Hall of Fame honour is someone he moulded. He ensured that I had everything I needed to succeed as a cricketer and in life, even in trying times. He made a special effort to make sure everything was there, I had to work hard…but I knew I had strong support. My biggest pain was that he did not see me play a Test match, but having the West Indies team in Trinidad at his funeral was a special tribute to the man who made sure I was given the tools to play this glorious game and make such a lasting contribution.”
Lara was one of the most prolific batsmen the West Indies ever produced, as he represented his country in 131 Test matches over the course of 17 years.
The West Indies batsman accumulated 11,953 runs, including 34 centuries and 48 half-centuries, at an average of 52.88 runs per innings.
But, Lara will forever be remembered as the man who single-handed tore England apart after he scored 400 not out against them in 2004, which to this day still remains the record for the highest individual score in a Test match.
“Tonight I had my brother and my sister here with me. Agnes is the one who took me to my first coaching clinic when I was six, and Winston was a role model as a stylish right-handed batsman…so to have them here is very special, as a boy, you never really thought of Hall of Fames, you never really thought of records. Growing up in the 70s my heroes were Clive Lloyd, Viv Richards and Roy Fredericks as a left-handed batsman. I am happy I was able to spend 17 years in the West Indies and was able to contribute in a way worthy of this honour. It is nice to share it with my family. It is something I want all West Indians to aspire to. To share this with the greats of the past and to be included in the Hall of Fame alongside them is remarkable. I never played with most of them but this is one way to connect with them,” Lara added.
Lara also played 299 ODIs for the West Indies and scored 10,405 runs at an average of 40.48, which included 19 centuries and 63 half-centuries.
In 2004, Lara captained the West Indies to a win at the ICC Champions Trophy against England at the Oval.
The left-handed batsman has also recorded 22,156 runs in his first-class career, which began in 1987 and ended in 2008, with his greatest achievement coming in 1994, when he made 501 not out for Warwickshire against Durham.
When asked what the greatest moment of his career was, Lara noted that his back-to-back centuries against Australia in 1999 had probably been the best moment of his international career.
“The 213 against Australia in Jamaica is definitely my best innings. You have to understand the climate at that time and going into that match, landing in Jamaica and knowing that everyone was on the line – your captaincy, the series, respect and adoration by your fans…the mental strength that I mustered up during that week was something that when I looked back it was very hard to measure anything up against that, the performance was something I cherish and the fact that we won the match to level the series, after we were bowled out for 51 the week before in Trinidad, felt great. I thought the way I handled it was special. It is something I will never ever forget…it’s a day’s cricket I will be talking about for a very long time. The 153 in Barbados the following week was rated higher by Wisden and the cricketing gurus but the double century in Jamaica was my best effort,” Lara said.