Tendulkar Vs Lara

AP

The Cover Story of the October 28th issue featured a debate as to who was the greatest batsman after Sir Don Bradman. Sachin Tendulkar and Brian Lara were discussed and readers' views were also welcomed. Here is a selection of their opinion sourced through email.

Three points

Sir, — Brian Lara and Sachin Tendulkar have excelled on various types of pitches and against difficult bowling attacks. To my mind Lara outscores Tendulkar on the following points.

1. Lara, during his Test career, scored a quadruple century as well as a triple hundred against England. So far Tendulkar has not scored a single triple century. His highest Test score is 248. Also, Lara has 10 double centuries to Tendulkar's six.

2. The Indian batting line-up is strong. Even if Tendulkar fails there is a lot of depth and hence there is no pressure on him. Whereas, there was a period when the West Indies batting depended entirely on Lara. Thus he was a one-man army. Lara has scored double centuries in Australia, South Africa, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

3. If Tendulkar had tamed Warne, Lara won the battle not only against Warne but also against Muralitharan, the highest wicket-taker in Test cricket with 800 scalps. Lara, by scoring 688 runs in 3 Tests against Sri Lanka, put to the sword both Chaminda Vaas and Muralitharan. No batsman has scored so many runs against them in their own backyard. Perhaps the only point in Tendulkar's favour is that he is more consistent than Lara.

To sum up the issue, Lara's unbeaten 400 against England in Test cricket and his unbeaten 501 in county cricket in England have not been surpassed.

The West Indies cricket board did not treat Lara with the respect he deserved, whereas, Tendulkar has had no such problems. On the sheer weight of performances, without doubt, Lara is greater than Tendulkar.

V. V. Satyanarayana Mozart and Beethoven

Sir, — Comparing Lara and Sachin, the masterly bat wielders, is akin to comparing the supremely gifted baton wielders — Mozart and Beethoven. There is very little to choose between them.

Both the Caribbean genius and the Indian maestro seemed to have plenty of time before essaying a stroke — the hallmark of all great batting artistes. Besides, they have enthralled the senses, created confusion in the “enemy ranks” and displayed steely character in testing moments on the field. What more, thereby, they had duly earned the respect of their opponents!

Sifting their monumental stats which stand testimony to their legendary status in cricket history, some are bound to take potshots at Sachin at his perceived failures in the second innings of Test matches! On this score, let it be said, that if Lara's epic 153 against the Aussies in the Bridgetown Test of 1999 would remain etched in memory, then Sachin's equally sublime effort whilst chasing a huge second innings target in the December 2008 Chennai Test against England would always evoke awe. If at all there is an ‘X' factor, which places Sachin on a higher pedestal in cricket history, in relation to the West Indian icon, it is his exemplary, unassuming, non-controversial life off the field.

Suresh Manoharan Tendulkar incomparable

Sir, — I am all for Sachin. Only a cricket ignoramous can disparage Lara's Test exploits, not an avid cricket connoisseur. However, no running away from the truth, noble cricket truth, that Tendulkar is incomparable.

Admittedly, both have dominated great fast bowlers and spinners of their era and none could get either's number. While Lara's brilliance never had any bearing on his mediocre team's fate, Sachin's calibrated attack was always invariably woven with India's fortunes. Lara might have one or two world records, Sachin has about 80 of them (if my arithmetic is right) and still counting, mind you!

Not for nothing, the cricket's greats (Hadlee, Viv Richards, Warne, Gavaskar, the Don, and Lara himself !), themselves are in raptures over the Bomber from Bandra. If Lara made world records incredible, Sachin is simply making mockery of all world records.

Granted there is very little to choose between the two, that little on Sachin's side is a lifetime performance under the scrutiny of a billion eyeballs, triumphing over nearly career-finishing injuries, answering perverted critics, and exceeding the expectations of unrealistic fans (all spanning over two decades) .......or is this all really little?

The proof of the pudding is in the eating and Sachin Tendulkar's life is the stuff dreams are made of and for historians to go crazy about.

Narasimha Murthy, C. Some uncommon reasons

Without doubt, Sachin is the best batsman of our generation. Being an Indian might have made me biased but let me explain why Sachin is the greatest:

1. Many experts have complained that Sachin has not played too many match-winning innings i.e. getting good fourth innings scores. This is something that other great batsmen are supposed to have done more than our Sachin. But can they ignore the number of great first innings knocks that Sachin has played which have prevented the need for such fourth innings heroics? As they say, “Prevention is better than cure…”

2. We should also see how Sachin has shaped his batting according to the situation, something which Lara didn't do frequently.

3. A batsman's job at the crease is not only to score, but also help out his partner in the middle — the number of debutants who have scored centuries while playing with Sachin speaks of his ability to inspire. However great a batsman Lara was, he was always self-centred, something we can never accuse Sachin of.

These are some of the not commonly mentioned reasons why Sachin can be considered a better batsman than Lara...

Kailash Pai Where is Ponting?

Sir, — Sachin Tendulkar should be ranked higher than any other cricketer for his longevity, for setting records that will be very hard to break and dedication to the game. Let us not forget that Sachin has been shouldering the burden of the expectations of crores of Indians and he has lived up to them more often than not.

But, why has Australian skipper Ricky Ponting's name not been considered for this debate? Ponting is the second highest run-getter in international cricket after Sachin and this fact seems to have been overlooked.

Praveen, N.V.S. Fantastic run

Perhaps, this question of Tendulkar v Lara has become a bit easy to answer in recent times. Sachin's fantastic run makes it so. No words are enough to describe the way the lord, Sachin, has been playing in the recent past because the shot selection and execution have been fabulous .

Lara, even when he was at his best, wasn't able to deliver as Sachin is doing. Moreover, many of his knocks did not result in anything fruitful to his team. Seeing Sachin now, I think it would be unwise to compare him with anyone else.

Sailesh Dontula Rejuvenated

Sir, — Sachin and Lara are two giants. However, in comparison, Sachin will deserve a special place over Lara. Of course, statistics favour the Indian maestro. But what has to be taken into consideration is that the master blaster has rejuvenated himself to the second growth phase of his playing days, willing away the stage of decline. His flawless double ton in Bangalore speaks volumes of the man.

Both of them have had their highs and lows, but to his eternal credit, Sachin, in the twilight years of his career, is coursing ahead of Lara.

May God bless Tendulkar with the World Cup also — something that Lara can never achieve — so that the true champion will find a meaning for his exemplary cricket career as well as his own life and remain an idol forever in the hearts of cricket lovers in all parts of the globe.

M. Nagarajan An icon to the whole world

Sir, — Sachin and Lara are a treat to watch on the cricket field. They have been an inspiration for not only youngsters in their own country, but also around the world to take up the game. It is really difficult to say who is the better player.

Putting statistics aside, Sachin is a better player. Records made will be remembered, but more than that it is the human being that people relate to. Sachin is an icon to the whole world. Everyone wants to be like him. Sachin's encouragement and pleasing smile are always a motivating factor for the team. He has been India's one-man army and helped the team come through difficult situations on the field.

He will always be number one. Susan George