BRIDGETOWN, April 22: West Indies captain Brian Lara brought the curtain down on his 17-year, record-breaking, international career on Saturday in the World Cup match against England.
Here, AFP Sport presents a selection of tributes and thoughts on the great man's retirement.
“I want to be remembered as a batsman who provided entertainment to the fans and in adversity tried my best to perform.”—Brian Lara on announcing his intention to quit.
“It's not the time to criticise, it's done and gone. I won't dwell over spilt milk.”—Lara on his stormy relationship with the West Indies board, selectors as well as former players.
“At any point in time if they need me to make a contribution outside the playing field, I am willing to help. I played with some great players and whenever it's time to pay back, I will be there.”—The record-breaking batsman offering to stay involved in the game.
“As far as the West Indies team is concerned, Brian Lara as a captain and all the comments that have been made, sometimes people don't look at the facts. The facts are that the West Indies in the last two and a half years have had a tremendous amount of problems.”—Sir Garry Sobers, one of Lara's greatest supporters, insisting that the problems of West Indies cricket are not the fault of one man.
“He was a great servant to West Indies cricket. His legacy is fantastic, a great batsman, 400 in a Test, 501 in first-class cricket, it's a huge legacy.”—West Indies fast bowling legend Wes Hall.
“A lot of players will have to work really hard to fill his shoes.”— Hall's new ball partner Charlie Griffith.
“Lara is a very strong man. He has come under a lot of scrutiny but his mental strength stands out.”—Team-mate Ramnaresh Sarwan who is tipped to take over as skipper.
“Lara stayed on for longer than he should have, and now it's time to thank him and look forward.”—Former fast bowler Michael Holding.
“It is his decision to retire and I can't say it's wrong. A captain can only be judged by his success record and that's not good in his case. Now we have to take drastic steps to carry West Indies cricket forward.”—Former fast bowler Joel Garner.
“I've always thought Brian Lara and Sachin (Tendulkar) have been the two greatest batsmen I've ever played against. Brian has got the ability to turn it on when he wants and take an attack apart and Sachin has been the most technically correct player I've seen.”—Australia captain Ricky Ponting.
“Brian is probably unheralded as far as technique goes. He's got an unusual, unorthodox technique which makes bowlers look embarrassed at times. I love the way he manipulates the field. It's a pretty sad day for cricket because he is a tremendous ambassador for the game.”—Australia opener Matthew Hayden
“I heard him say he wanted to be an entertainer; he was all that and more. He was a player who created interest in New Zealand and around the world – so he brought more players to the game. For a left-hander he was inspirational to watch and play against.”—New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming
“Just as important as the runs he scored and the way he scored them, Brian has also played in a way that has been true to the spirit of cricket and we should be grateful for that too because players are role models for the next generation.”—ICC chief executive Malcolm Speed.—AFP