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Davis debates Lara, Tendulkar

Sunday, August 4 2013

FORMER WEST Indies Test batsman Bryan Davis has joined the growing list of prominent names who are discussing which of the current batting greats — Brian Lara and India’s Sachin Tendulkar, was the better player.

Former Australian captains Ricky Ponting and Steve Waugh, as well as ex-WI fast bowler Michael Holding recently gave their perspectives over who was the better batsman in the modern era (1990s and 2000s).

And Davis, in his recent column on the Catholic News, admitted, “comparisons are rather odious but cricket fans can’t get enough of them.

“The Tendulkar fans would tell you that he has more Test runs than anyone ever, while the fan club of the Trinidadian would bring to your attention the remarkable individual totals of their man, who has the highest score in a Test innings (400 not out) and held the record not once but twice. Of course, he’s the only batsman to achieve a score of over 500 in a single First Class innings (501 not out vs Durham 1994).”

The analytical Davis wrote, “I’ve seen Tendulkar in Test matches both in the Caribbean and India and I thought him a class act, someone with a solid defence which protects him on any type of surface, with strokes all round the wicket.

“The late great Sir Donald Bradman said the solidly-built batsman reminded him of when he used to play. He enjoyed a tremendous range of shots and his stroke-play glittered with the gift of the artist. He was magnificent to watch.”

Davis continued, “Lara, on the other hand, was the adventurer, exciting to look at, never dull, with a repertoire of strokes that is almost impossible to define. Bowlers had endless challenges to control him and keep him quiet. “In a flash he would switch his balance from one foot to the next to execute fearless strokes, not only with power and timing but with elegance and flourish, which is always entertaining for the spectator.” But the former Trinidad and Tobago opening batsman confessed,

“I leave the comparison of who was the better player to the fan, but for me I saw and enjoyed the symmetry with which these great players plundered the bowling, conquering the greatest bowlers, winning most of their battles against wise and tricky opponents, with a classical array of shots, delighting fans with the beauty in their batting.” He asked, “Lara or Tendulkar? Who am I to say?

“They were superb purveyors of the art of batting and it is not for me to say,” Davis added. “I enjoyed both at the crease but I saw Lara more than I did the right-handed player.

“Thus, the little left-hander would have given me more delight only because of the number of times I would have seen him in the middle, attacking bowlers of all descriptions, from his days at Fatima College and throughout his development, eventually representing Trinidad and Tobago and then the West Indies. I wasn’t fortunate to be able to follow the trail of Tendulkar, which would have been just as fascinating. “I wish that those who get involved in comparisons won’t get carried away by statistics but will think more about how enjoyable were the performances, the style and substance of the batting, and the artistic way they both approached the games they played,” Davis pointed out.

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