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Lara owes it to late dad

Calcutta: The legendary Brian Lara dedicated the honour of getting inducted into the International Cricket Council’s Hall of Fame to his late father Bunty, saying he played an important role in his development as a cricketer.

The former West Indies captain was accompanied by his brother Winston and sister Agnes when he was presented the ICC Hall of Fame cap. Incidentally, he became the 17th West Indian to be inducted. Lara said his biggest pain was that his father died before he could make his Test debut for the West Indies.

“He (Bunty) moulded me… He ensured that I had everything I needed to succeed as a cricketer and in life, even in trying times… I had to work hard... But I knew I had strong support. My biggest pain was that he did not see me play a Test match… But having the West Indies team in Trinidad at his funeral was a special tribute to the man who made sure I was given the tools to play this glorious game and make such a lasting contribution,” he said in a WICB release.

Lara represented the West Indies in 131 Tests in a career that spanned 17 years, amassing 11,953 runs at an average of 52.88 and another 10,405 from 299 one-dayers.

Lara also holds the record for the highest individual score in a Test innings (400 not out against England at Antigua in 2004). He is the only batsman to have scored a hundred, a double century, a triple century, a quadruple century and a quintuple century.

Lara said he was happy to have spent 17 years in the West Indies and was able to contribute in a way worthy of this honour.

“As a boy, you never really thought of Hall of Fames, you never really thought of records. Growing up in the ’70s my heroes were Clive Lloyd, Viv Richards and Roy Fredericks as a left-hand batsman. To share this with the great players of the past and to be included in the Hall of Fame alongside them is remarkable. I never played with most of them but this is one way to connect with them. It is nice to share it with my family,” he said.

Lara said his most memorable series was the four home Tests against Australia in 1999, when he scored 213 in Jamaica and 153 in Barbados to help West Indies draw the rubber 2-2.

“The 213 against Australia in Jamaica is definitely my best innings. Going into that match, landing in Jamaica and knowing that everything was on the line — your captaincy, the series, respect and adoration by your fans. The mental strength I mustered during that week was something when I looked back, it was hard to measure anything against that.

“The performance was something I cherish and the fact that we won the match to level the series, after we were bowled out for 51 the week before in Trinidad, felt great. I thought the way I handled it was special. It is something I will never ever forget ... it's a day's cricket I will be talking about for a very long time.

“The 153 in Barbados the following week was rated higher by Wisden and the cricketing gurus but the double century in Jamaica was my best effort,” he said.