July 12, 2024

30 years after scoring 501:  Brian Lara: “The secret to my world breaking innings? Having fun.

Brian Lara has revealed the secret behind his world record-breaking 501 innings saying: “I was just having fun.”

The legendary West Indies star amassed his iconic score in 474 minutes off just 427 balls for Warwickshire against Durham in 1994.

And now Lara’s iconic innings of 30 years ago has been celebrated with a special dinner hosted by Champions (UK) plc, at Edgbaston Stadium.

Speaking about his innings, Lara, who also has the highest individual score in Test cricket, said: “I was just having fun, really. It was Monday and we wanted to make a game of it against Durham.

“I moved from 111 to 275 before lunch, I was going really quickly. I remember Dermot Reeve wanting to declare because back in those days, the over rate was calculated over the season, and we were about 20 overs down.

“Dennis Amiss came to him and said ‘we had like two men and a dog at 10 o’clock. It’s now midday and there’s 2000 people in here. Do not declare.’”

He continued: “I just went out to bat again at teatime, and there were now five or six thousand people in the ground and membership was going up.

“Dennis Amiss was now in charge of the match. It was no longer Dermot Reeve. I’d just scored 375 and I wanted to score triple 100 again. Graham Hicks came on, I start scoring 404, 405, 406. Matt Lauren then started, and it just went on and on.

“I think I was always encouraged to keep going because every time I hit a four, the crowd clapped. The announcement came up that somebody in 1925 scored something and I’d just passed it, so for me it was just so much fun.”

When asked about how he became so widely regarded, he said: “Not believing that you’re the greatest batsmen of all time is the start, believing that every single innings or every single day that you have is to keep improving.

“And for me, I never felt that I was the greatest batsman in my career, I always felt that I had to keep working; I had to reinvent myself.

“For any young player, if you believe that your first couple tests hundreds you’ve reached the top, that’s never the case. If you speak to any boxer, anybody from any sporting discipline, they will tell you that they have to keep working day in day out, and I believe that is where I was very strong.

“I felt that I had to keep working at my game every single time to prove myself. Captains will go away, teams will go away, and they will spend time trying to work me out, so I had to keep a step ahead.”

The Trinidadian’s unique batting style became widely recognised for its flourish and emphasis on back lift.

Explaining why he batted in the way he did, Lara continued: “I just think it became part of my game naturally,” he explained. “No one stopped me from doing it. I think it stems from the fact that if you look at my back left fastball, compared to a spinner, it’s too different. The fast bowler picked it up quickly.

“No one actually stopped me from doing it from you know, from the Harvard coaching clinic to club cricket, school cricket.”

The dinner to celebrate Lara’s innings marked the 30-year anniversary of the Bears’ historic treble winning season – with a number of club legends from that season present such as Tim Munton, Dermot Reeve, Gladstone Small and many more.

1994 and 95’ was a historic period in the club’s history, and is remembered fondly by not only Warwickshire supporters, but the country’s cricket fans in general.

Lara said: “1994 was an unbelievable year. There was a six-week period between scoring 375 against England in Antigua and coming to England to play for Warwickshire.

“It was just an unbelievable, a really crazy period in my personal career, it was the best time I’ve ever had with the bat.”