CRICKET legend Brian Lara has some advice for batsmen in the CG United Regional Super50 Cup, currently under way in Trinidad. The tournament bowled off on October 17 and features defending champions Jamaica Scorpions, hosts TT Red Force, Guyana Harpy Eagles, Windward Islands Volcanoes, Leeward Islands Hurricanes, Barbados Pride, Combined Campuses and Colleges and West Indies Academy.
So far, after three rounds, there have been two centuries, scored by TT's Kjorn Ottley (134 not out) and Barbados' Shane Dowrich (102 not out). Bajan Teddy Bishop and Jamaican Chadwick Walton have come close to the milestone but were dismissed in their nineties.
Lara, 54, who was officially named as Cricket West Indies performance mentor in January, called on regional batsmen to watch the ball closely.
He posted on social media, "Once the great man Sir Gary Sobers stood at the back of the nets whilst I was having a hit. He muttered, 'Young man, you’re not looking at the ball.'
"I looked back and said, 'I’m looking at the ball, how could you say that?'
"His last words from behind the nets were, 'I want you to look at the ball in the bowler’s hand at the start of his run up. Keep your eyes on it until it hits your bat.'
Lara, who was mentored by Sobers, the former Test batting record holder – 365 runs, said, "Only then I realised I wasn’t looking at the ball, I was only trying to pick it up at the point of delivery, and that is too late."
The former West Indies captain said, "A message to the young batters in the #CGUnitedS50: keep looking at that ball, don’t take your eyes off it."
Sobers' advice seems to have served Lara well as he went on to break Sobers' world record with an astounding knock of 375 against England in Antigua in 1994. He went on to reclaim the world record – the first man ever to do so – after Australian Matthew Hayden scored 380 against Zimbabwe in 2003.
Lara's 400 not out against England remains the world record for highest Test score. He also holds the record for most Test runs by a West Indian – 11,912, including 34 centuries and 48 fifties.