West Indies legend Brian Lara has revealed the watershed moment that saw his batting average soar in the twilight of his career when most batsman are heading the other way.
Kerry O’Keeffe asked Lara what the secret was to improving his batting as he got older when most batsman decline as their hand-eye co-ordination begins to wane.
“Brian (Lara) you improved your Test average from 49 to 52 in ages 34 to 37, your twilight,” O’Keeffe said on Fox Cricket.
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“Did you make any technical changes?”
“No, it was more of a mental change,” Lara replied.
“I was sort of putting all the baggage behind me.
“I remember it started in about 1999 when we played Australia in the Caribbean. I walked into that Test series losing five Test matches as captain.
“I was on probation. We lost the first test against Australia in Trinidad and Tobago.
“From there it was a watershed moment in my career and my whole psyche on the game and how I approached it mentally was totally different.
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“That is the main reason for the second chapter of my career where I moved that average because I started with a 65 (average) after scoring 375 and scoring a lot of runs in 1994 and 1995.
“I dipped and then I got back, but that was mainly through a tougher mental approach for the last six or seven years of my career.”
Mark Howard couldn’t resist a cheeky dig over Lara mentioning his then world record score of 375.
“Do you like how he just dropped the 375 in there,” Howard quipped.
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“We haven’t got to the 400 or the 500 yet. I don’t think we have time.”
O’Keeffe joked Lara’s average would have been even higher if Carl Hooper hadn’t run him out in his infamous 277 at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
“If Carl Hooper hadn’t run him out in Sydney on 277 he would have got 600,” O’Keeffe said.
“That is what Warnie used to say, they would have never got him out,” Howard added.
Lara was asked about the technical changes Steve Smith has made to correct some flaws in his game ahead of the Test summer.
“How difficult is it to implement a change in your game as a Test cricketer?” Howard asked.
“It is not difficult at all,” Lara said.
“As a Test cricket when you realise that something is going wrong, you work on it.
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“If you are a Test cricketer or any form of the game, you want to be improving all the time. You want to stay a step ahead of the opposition.
“You can’t be just like a target for the opposition. This is the way he bats. This is his weaknesses.
“You have got to develop strengths and for me he has done a tremendous job.
“You can see with his stance. Look at where his right foot is. He found himself square-on a lot in the past. That makes him very vulnerable.
“Here he didn’t have much power on his pull shot and an easy dismissal.
“Cricket and batting is a side-on game and to stay there as much as possible is important.
“The moment you start to get square-on you are asking for trouble.”