Brian Lara was in New York on Wednesday, 5 September as part of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 Trophy Tour driven by Nissan, and took time out to take part in what turned out to be a fascinating Reddit AMA.
Much like his batting, Lara did it all, covering an array of topics during the session, from the best bowlers he faced, his thoughts on cricket at the Olympics, the fastest bowler he’s ever faced, and that 400*.
How can the Windies can get back to the top?
We need a far better infrastructure with a far more professional approach from all parties involved. Without this, it's difficult to imagine West Indies returning to their glory days. We succeeded up to a point on natural ability but the game has changed tremendously and there are far more components that create a winning team.
T20I cricket, and how he’d have played in this era
I felt with the early introduction to the one-day format, I had 25 or so before my second Test match, which helped me with the attacking side of my game. If I was to play cricket in this era, with the advent of T20, I feel it would have the same effect on me where it wouldn't affect my ability to play Test cricket but only enhance it allowing me to score faster.
The toughest spinner he has played against
Muttiah (Muralitharan) always confused me in the early part of our confrontation, whilst Shane Warne didn't. Having said that, as my innings grew I felt I had more control over Muttiah, whilst Shane seemed to grow in confidence. They were definitely the two best spinners of my time.
His favourite bowler to face
Shane Warne, he played for the best team in the world during my era, he was, and still is, regarded as the best leg-spinner to play the game. It was a battle I just embraced in some of the largest cricketing arenas.
His unbeaten 400* – still a Test record – against England in 2004
To approach those heights again, which I never thought was possible (personally), was just magical. Even back in 1994 after recuperating from my 375, I was a little disappointed that I didn't go on to score 400.
Handling nerves while batting
Never (any nerves) during, any nerves were only before I walked out to bat. That 22-yard battlefield isn't somewhere you want to lose your composure.
Ten-team World Cups, and the growth of the game
The most important thing for the ICC to consider is the growth of the game, where that will happen is in the T20 format. All the countries that are taking to the sport as of late are naturally attracted to T20 format since it's the most exciting.
Moving on to the longer formats, you want good quality and intense cricket and only the best teams in the world can offer that. Therefore, I feel the number of teams in the World T20 being 16 and the number in the ODI World Cup being 10 is just right.
Cricket at the Olympics
The T20 format lasts just three hours so I don't see why it can't be included in the Olympics. It was nice to see golf get that opportunity again, it's time for cricket now.
Best active batsmen and bowlers
Virat Kohli and Joe Root
(Jimmy) Anderson and (Kagiso) Rabada
The quickest bowler he’s faced
The last morning of a Test match in Port of Spain against Australia, Brett Lee bowled some deliveries in a six-over spell, which were the fastest I've ever faced.
The greatest side – Windies of the 1980s or Australia of the 2000s?
I'm West Indian, so I have to go with Windies of the 80s.