Brian Lara retired from international cricket during the ICC Cricket World Cup held in the West Indies in 2007.
Yesterday, Day 11 of Football’s World Cup in Brazil where Portugal drew 2-all with the United States, Algeria defeated South Korea 4-2 and Belgium edged Russia 1-nil, Lara, 45 years old on May 2nd past, was back on the cricket field and displaying as much sparkle as has been attributed to the current World Cup.
Lara, now fifth in Test cricket’s highest run-scorers after being number one when he retired with 11, 953 runs, made a sparkling 56 playing for the MCC of England against seven-wicket losers Hertfordshire in their Lord’s Bicentenary Anniversary Day clash at the Home of Cricket, Lord’s, England.
Lara, batting at number three, was part of a fine performance from the MCC top order as they chased down 199 in 32.3 of their 40 allotted overs.
Openers Jonathan Wileman (67 runs) and Daryl Mitchell (64) put on a fine opening stand of 104 to set MCC off to a perfect start.
But it was Lara who stole the show with a wonderful performance, unfurling a range of vintage strokes in a knock which spanned just 36 balls and 38 minutes.
The spinners were swept and glided behind square, or dispatched back over their heads with some nimble footwork, while the 45-year-old treated Hertfordshire’s seamers with disdain.
He fell with fewer than ten required, receiving a well deserved standing ovation from the crowd as he returned to the Pavilion, leaving ex-South Africa batsman Dale Benkenstein to finish things off for the home team.
The day was enjoyed by a strong crowd, who took up the chance to watch the game from the outfield – the first time spectators have enjoyed cricket from the hallowed turf at Lord’s since 1987.
More than 500 members of the general public also enjoyed the match from inside the historic Pavilion for the first time since the 1960s, with relaxed dress regulations in place.
Lara who by the way took one catch in the match will be in action again at Lord’s next month in the next major Bicentenary celebration, when he plays for Sachin Tendulkar’s MCC team against Rest of the World.
Here in the West Indies, the West Indies Cricket Board’s Selection Panel has made no change to their successful Second Test 14-man squad for the 3rd Test against New Zealand which will be played at Kensington Oval, Barbados from Thursday June 26 to Monday, June 30.
The squad which won the second Test that ended on Friday at the Queen’s Park Oval in Port-of-Spain and as a result evened the three-Test series is Denesh Ramdin (Captain), Sulieman Benn, Jermaine Blackwood, Kraigg Brathwaite, Darren Bravo, Shiv Chanderpaul, Kirk Edwatds, Shannon Gabriel, Chris Gayle, Jason Holder, Leon Johnson, Shane Shillingford, Kemar Roach and Jerome Taylor.