Hypothetical as it may sound, picture this. The current No. 1 ODI bowler in the world, Jasprit Bumrah, marks his run-up as the legendary Brian Charles Lara takes guard. Having seen the former West Indies skipper bat over the years against the likes of Allan Donald, Glenn McGrath and Wasim Akram among others, one would expect a high-voltage clash on the pitch as Lara was always known to take the attack to the opposition bowlers, be it pace or spin. But the maestro reveals otherwise.
One of the absolute legends of the game says that for Bumrah, he would not opt for the counter-attacking game. Rather, he would try and unsettle the pacer by continually rotating the strike.
Lara believes that not giving the India pacer the opportunity to settle down in line and length can be the key to succeed against him.
“First of all, if I was facing him, I would look to get off the strike (laughs). He is very good and someone who has an awkward action. Batsmen have to keep their eyes on him and I would maybe try to apply pressure on him by rotating the strike,” he said.
“In ODI cricket, you have the option of picking up a lot more singles than in T20s. In the past, you have seen that when batsmen looked to go after guys like Muttiah Muralitharan or Sunil Narine, it is very difficult and Bumrah has that sort of an effect. I would encourage batsmen to try to get six singles from his over. He is one of India’s best bowlers and then maybe you can look at other areas to get runs from,” said Lara.
“I don’t believe counter-attacking against such a good bowler is a great idea. He might have a one-off bad day and then batsmen can capitalise but generally he has had very good days. I think I would look to pay that respect,” he explained.
From one class act to another, while Lara has played against Sachin Tendulkar, he has watched current heartthrob Virat Kohli rip apart opposition attacks over the last couple of years and for the West Indian, Kohli is not human.
Calling it as he sees it, Lara believes that the India captain has changed the way the game is perceived not just by current players, but also youngsters who want to go ahead and play for their countries in the future.
“He is a machine. He has brought a different cricketer to the table than what we were accustomed to back in the ’80s and ’90s. He is someone who spends time in the gym and shows working on your fitness is the key. He is pretty much a run-machine. A guy is going out and scoring runs almost every single time he goes out to bat. Tendulkar to me is one of the greatest of all times and he had his opportunity and he left a great legacy so I wouldn’t want to compare the two. But Kohli is a special talent and is a great example,” exulted Lara.