Another world record for Lara
Stabroek News
December 10, 2001

Dear Editor,

Recently surfing the internet I came across an article captioned, "Another world record for Lara", which contained some interesting figures.

Brian Lara has made the largest percentage of any side's total runs in a series of three or more matches during the rubber in Sri Lanka.

Lara made 688 runs in the series - 178 and 40 at Galle, 74 and 45 at Kandy,and 221 and 130 at the Sinhalese Sports Club in Colombo - for an average of 114.67. West Indies scored a total of 1625 runs in the series, Lara's percentage of their runs was a world record 42.34%.

The previous-highest mark of 40.31% also came against Sri Lanka, by Dave Houghton in Zimbabwe in 1994-95. In his three innings in that series, Houghton scored 466 of Zimbabwe's 1156 runs.

Next comes Shoaib Mohammad,with 37.78% for Pakistan at home to New Zealand in 1990-91. He compiled 507 of Pakistan's 1342 runs.

Former West Indian batsman Seymour Nurse lies fourth, with 37.55% of his team's runs in his final series, in New Zealand in 1968-69. He scored 558 of West Indies' 1486 runs.

Apart from the world record percentage, Lara's 221 in the final match was the highest individual score by any batsman who finished on the losing side in a Test. Previously this was Victor Trumper's 214 not out for Australia v. South Africa at Adelaide in 1910-11. And Lara's match tally of 351 runs is also a record for someone who ended up losing- the old mark of 341 was set recently, by Zimbabwe's Andy Flower(142 and 199 not out) v. South Africa at Harare.

As if all these stats were not distressing enough, the article concluded with the much heralded fact(for those who have waited patiently for these days for the Windies) that Sri Lanka had completed their first whitewash since they came into Test cricket 20 years ago.

The pain we are experiencing is a result of spiteful administrators and stingy financial dealings by those who control the coffers. Clive Lloyd,Viv Richards and their brilliant sides apart,the Desmond Haynes fiasco considered as well, there is no doubt in my mind that the demise of West Indies cricket began with the inexplicable snubbing of the prolific Clayton Lambert, to this day we have never received a suitable explanation for the callous treatment of this dedicated cricketer. Just consider Lambert's role in the natural progression of our openers ,we would never have created such a void, we're still looking for a settled opening pair after more than a decade! Rohan Kanhai, who the illustrious Brian Lara lauded publicly during his tenure with our side, has mysteriously disappeared from our technical scene. Dennis Waight,whose methods of training carried the side injury-free for countless series, suddenly turned a dinosaur, away with him! Poor Chanderpaul, King, Cuffy, Lara, I could go on and on about that! Compare Kerry Jeremy and the straight- bowling Kevin Darlington, and ask what gives Jeremy the nod. Persistence with Sherwin Campbell, Adrian Griffith, Phil Simmons and Keith Arthurton, has created a losing record and mentality. Medical assessments of our players are scandalous, does finance determine their authenticity? Carl Hooper has inherited a team without a "drawing board", Jimmy Adams went back to it so often while trying to sound like captaincy material, that he has deprived his successor of that comfort zone!

I return to Kevin Darlington, not because he's a fantastic cricketer, but because his disciplined bowling style, and success at regional level were apparent non-considerations,even the local selectors can be blamed somewhat for this. Let me reiterate, if Jeremy could play for the West Indies,Darlington should spearhead the attack!

Intestinal fortitude (guts), goes hand in hand with talent,and pride with one's passion for a sport, the unfair dealings of the WICB must cease,and substance must take precedence over insularity. Forget the hype, go back to basics, there are sound players around the region, spend money to develop them. Start by examining our youngsters and play an integral part in their upbringing, appoint persons to keep track of their education and their access to facilities and equipment. There is absolutely no way we will return to the top, if those who are at the controls are clueless about real life. I love cricket, and the West Indies!!

Yours faithfully,

Nigel Mckenzie