West Indies legend Brian Lara has hailed India batting star Virat Kohli as the Cristiano Ronaldo of the sport based on the player’s extraordinary commitment to fitness.

Kohli was recently named in the Wisden top five cricketers of the decade and it was a well-earned accolade considering the fact he has scored 5,775 more international runs than anyone else in the last 10 years.  In fact, since bursting on the scene, the India skipper has sent records tumbling at a remarkable pace.  Kohli has, however, also become noted for his strict diet and rigid fitness routine.  Lara believes his attention to that aspect of his career development, comparable to the likes of Ronaldo and LeBron James, has taken the player to another level.

“It’s unbelievable. He's cricket’s version of Cristiano Ronaldo. I think he’s taken fitness to another level,” Lara said in a recent interview with The Hindu.

“When you see guys in the 70s and the fun that they were having, the fitness level wasn't that great.  In 2019, pretty much, fitness is a major part of the game and Kohli is leading the charge, not just in India but around the world. His mental strength is unbelievable,” he added.

The 31-year-old Indian was named captain of the Wisden Test team of the decade, while also featuring in the ODI XI.

Shai Hope is the most prolific One-Day International batsman to his first 3000 runs the West Indies has ever seen.

On Sunday, during a losing effort against India , Hope struck a single to get to 35 runs and with it, reached 3,000 runs in ODIs.

Sir Vivian Richards, long known as the most fearsome ODI batsman the West Indies has ever seen, took 69 innings to get to 3000 runs, while Lara, the greatest the region has produced and arguably the greatest of all time, took 79 innings to do so. Hope was playing his 67th innings on Sunday.

Gordon Greenidge, who formed part of the greatest opening ODI parternships in West Indies history with Desmond Haynes, achieved the milestone in 72 innings, while one of the greatest exponents of white ball cricket, Chris Gayle took 80 innings.

In fact, there has only ever been one batsman in world cricket to get to 3000 runs faster than has Hope, with South Africa’s Hashim Amla owning the record of the quickest to the milestone of all time, getting there in 57 innings.

Hope would go on to score 42, as the West Indies went on to post 315, a total India got to for the loss of six wickets in the 49th over.

On the way to 316-6, Rohit Sharma scored 63, KL Rahul, 77, and Virat Kohli, 85, to smother the efforts of Hope, Nicholas Pooran, 89, and Kieron Pollard, 74.

Hope had also scored 102 not out and 78 in the previous two games, taking his tally to four centuries this calendar year, along with seven half-centuries.

The West Indies lost a T20I series to India, 2-1, and suffered the same result in a three-match ODI series that ended Sunday.

Brian Lara would have loved Australia to have given David Warner a greater opportunity to break his record for the most runs scored in a Test innings.

Warner struck a sublime unbeaten 335 in the second-Test hammering of Pakistan at the Adelaide Oval last week, with only Matthew Hayden (380) above him in the list of highest scores by an Australian.

However, Warner did not get the chance to beat the legendary Lara's overall benchmark of 400 not out achieved against England in April 2004 after captain Tim Paine declared, not wanting to risk the potential for adverse weather scuppering the team's chances of victory.

Lara understands Paine's thought process behind the decision, but he was disappointed Warner was not afforded more time to have a go at his record.

"Well I was hoping that they would give him an opportunity to at least go for it," he told Omnisport.

"I know Australia, first and foremost, want to put themselves in the best possible position to win the game. 

"But looking at the end of it, in hindsight, you're winning with a day to spare. It would have been nice to see someone have a go at it. 

"It is always tricky, you never know what is going to happen when you start approaching a total such as that. I remember doing it the first time in 1994 [375 not out against England], how nervous you can get. 

"But so be it, they won the Test which is the most important thing. He batted well, put his team in a great position. 

"What I like about him is he's an attacking player, which is great. You want an attacking player to be on or around such a record."

West Indies batting legend Brian Lara and Indian great Sachin Tendulkar will take up their bats once again during the Road Safety World Series in India next year.

Brian Lara and Ramnaresh Sarwan, two of the best West Indies batsmen of the last two decades, will join the team’s preparation ahead of the upcoming MyTeam11 Test Series against India.

Windies legend Brian Lara has congratulated top-order batsman Chris Gayle on breaking his record for the most One Day International (ODI) runs scored by a West Indian batsman.

The 39-year-old Gayle reached the mark during the second ODI match of India’s current tour of the Caribbean.  Heading into the series, Gayle was 11 runs away from surpassing Lara and eventually achieved the feat in the ninth over of the second ODI.

The batsman was, however, dismissed soon afterward, making 11 runs.  The opener was also sent back to the pavilion early in the first match after making 4 runs.  Gayle now sits on 10,353 runs, five ahead of Lara's tally of 10,348 runs.

Lara congratulated Gayle for achieving the milestone via social media platform Twitter.

"Congratulations @henrygayle most runs by a West Indian in ODI cricket," Lara tweeted.

Gayle is expected to retire from international cricket, following the series and has not been included in the Test team.  The Windies will play India in the third and final ODI on Wednesday.

Chris Gayle broke two of Brian Lara's ODI records but a sublime century from Virat Kohli inspired India to a 59-run victory in Port of Spain and a 1-0 series lead over West Indies with one match to play.

Gayle surpassed Lara to become the first West Indian to make 300 appearances in the 50-over format and also moved past the great left-hander's record tally of 10,348 ODI runs at the Queen's Park Oval on Sunday.

The opener fell for only 11 soon after making history and Bhuvneshwar Kumar took 4-31 as Jason Holder's side were bowled out for 210, chasing a revised target of 270 to win from 46 overs after a couple of rain delays – Evin Lewis top scoring with 65.

Kohli (120) was the star of the show, the India captain crafting a 42nd ODI hundred and setting a record of his own for the fewest innings to score 2,000 ODI runs against one nation in his 34th knock against the Windies.

The classy Kohli also moved past Sourav Ganguly into second on the all-time list of India's leading ODI run-makers and held three catches, while Shreyas Iyer scored an excellent 71 in India's 279-7.

Sheldon Cottrell gave the Windies an ideal start by trapping Shikhar Dhawan leg before from the third ball of the match, but Kohli – who won the toss – and Rohit Sharma set a platform with a second-wicket stand of 74.

Kohli was in ominous touch from the start of his latest masterclass, scoring freely on both sides of the wicket, and Iyer provided great support for his skipper after Rohit and Rishabh Pant departed.

India were 101-3 in the 23rd over when Carlos Brathwaite (3-53) bowled Pant, but Kohli and the impressive Iyer frustrated the Windies with a fourth-wicket stand of 125.

Kohli crunched Holder back over his head for six and pointed to his name on his shirt to celebrate yet another hundred before holing out off Brathwaite and Iyer followed after hitting a six and five fours.

Gayle was given a standing ovation and a shake of the hand by Kohli when he surpassed Lara's tally, but Bhuvneshwar sent him on his way soon after leg before.

Shai Hope and Shimron Hetmyer also failed following a second rain delay, but Lewis dug in for a fluent half-century despite suffering a calf injury before Kohli rose to remove the opener with a sharp one-handed catch at extra cover off Kuldeep Yadav.

Nicholas Pooran played his shots to give the Windies hope, but Bhuvneshwar dismissed him for 42 and took a brilliant catch off his own bowling to get rid of Roston Chase as India secured a comfortable win.

Chris Gayle broke Brian Lara's ODI run-scoring and West Indies appearance records before falling cheaply after India captain Virat Kohli made another sublime century in Port of Spain.

Gayle marked his historic 300th match in the 50-over format by bettering the great Lara's tally of 10,348 runs at the Queen's Park Oval on Sunday.

The 39-year-old opening batsman was given a standing ovation and a shake of the hand from Kohli when he set the record in Lara's hometown.

Gayle was five ahead of Lara when he fell for only 11, failing with a review after he was trapped leg before wicket bang in front by Bhuvneshwar Kumar, reducing the Windies to 45-1 in reply to 279-7 in the second match of the series.

Kohli earlier produced another masterclass, moving above Sourav Ganguly into second on the list of leading India ODI run-scorers with a magnificent 120 from 125 balls.

The classy skipper struck a six and another 14 boundaries and Shreyas Iyer made 71 after the tourists had won the toss.

Kohli also set a record for the fewest innings to score 2,000 ODI runs against one nation in what was his 34th knock against the Windies.

Windies star Chris Gayle is admittedly grateful to achieve the significant mark of 300 ODIs, the most appearances by any West Indian player.

The left-handed opener reached the mark during the second ODI against India at Queens Park Oval, in Trinidad, on Sunday.  The appearance moved Gayle, now 39 years old, past another West Indies legend Brian Lara, who had made 299 and makes him the first West Indies player to take part in 300 ODIs.

 "I'm thankful, it's a great achievement to actually accomplish," he said in a video posted by Windies Cricket on Twitter.

"It's a very special day. I must give thanks to the almighty to actually reach this far and to the fans for the support through the years, it's been fantastic.”

Gayle could of course also make more history as he remains just 9 runs shy of Lara’s record for the most ODI runs (10,405).  The opening batsman struggled in the abandoned first ODI, scoring 4 from 31 deliveries.

“Hopefully I can make it a special one today for the fans. 300 ODIs, from a personal point of view as well I want to make it a special one. I'm grateful, but it will be more important to get a win as well and go one up as well."

The batsman will have to have to wait or his chance, however, as India won the toss and choose to bat.

 

Soon to be retired Windies star Chris Gayle is confident the future of the region’s cricket is in safe hands having made his final appearance at an ICC World Cup on Thursday.

It was not the perfect swansong the veteran batsman might have envisioned heading into the tournament.  The Windies earmarked by few as dark horses won a mere two games and finished second to last.

The typically prolific batsman also showed signs that perhaps time was finally catching up, as he struggled to get going at the crease.  In nine matches the Windies talisman could only manage 242 runs.  In the final match against Afghanistan, Gayle was dismissed for seven, his third single-figure score of the tournament.  The result means the batsman remained second on West Indies' all-time list of ODI run-scorers, 10 behind Brian Lara.

“The future looks bright, with (Shimron) Hetmyer, (Shai) Hope, (Nicholas) Pooran… Those guys will carry the flag and make sure West Indies cricket is back to where it belongs,” Gayle said following the match.

“They have a young captain in Jason Holder as well. They have to rally around,” he added.

“We also have Andre Russell who is around. I like Pooran and Hetmyer, as those guys can be devastating as batsmen. They need to get a bit more mature quickly. We know what they’re all capable of.”

 

West Indies cricket great Brian Lara has been admitted to hospital suffering from chest pains, according to reports emerging from India.

Windies talisman Chris Gayle is known for setting records but the big left-hander could be heading for one he may not want when he makes his appearance later this month at the ICC World Cup.

The 39-year-old batsman is expected to earn his 290th ODI cap as a Windies opener, having scored 10,151 runs.  The appearance will also be the player’s fifth at a World Cup.

 If the Windies do not win the tournament and with the player already slated to retire immediately after it, Gayle would join a select group of players to have played the most World Cup without winning.  The big left-hander is in danger of being the ninth player to have accomplished this unwanted record.  Some of the most notable names include the likes of Mahela Jayawardene, Shahid Afridi and Jacques Kallis.  Regionally Gayle will join legends Brian Lara and Curtly Ambrose. 

Ambrose played in 17 World Cup games across three editions from 1992 to 1999 and had 24 wickets at just 20.79, conceding a miserly 3.03 runs per over.  Lara is the third highest run-scorer in World Cups with 1225 runs from 34 matches spread across 5 editions, starting from 1992.

West Indies batting legend Brian Lara believes the current form of senior players in the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL) campaign is a real fillip for the region.

With the 2019 World Cup just a little over a month away Windies stars Kieron Pollard and Andre Russell have put on some impressive displays with the bat in the IPL to date.  After starting slowly for Mumbai Indians Pollard has picked up steam in recent week, hitting a crucial 46 against Sunrisers Hyderabad before an outrageous 83 against Kings XI Punjab.

Russell has been one of the players of the tournament to date, after scoring 377 runs and claiming seven wickets in 9 matches.

It remains to be seen whether any of the players, who have been outside of the One Day International set-up for several months, will be selected to the final Windies squad.  Lara, however, believes the form of the players makes them nice options to have.

“Cricketers from the West Indies have been doing well in this edition of the Indian Premier League. A few players from other nations are also making good contributions. Kieron Pollard and Andre Russell have been pretty consistent and that augurs well for West Indies cricket. Even Chris Gayle has fired on a couple of occasions, but you need to look out for guys who are making contribution regularly,” Lara said.

“The West Indies players bring their whole-hearted effort in every performance. They are not playing for the West Indies national team, so the IPL is their opportunity to shine.”

 

West Indies batting legend Brian Lara has not ruled out a strong performance for the regional team at the upcoming ICC World Cup in England but believes the unit must find a modicum of consistency to be successful.

The regional team earned plenty of plaudits for a strong performance in the Caribbean against England.  At times, it was the inexperienced Windies that outplayed an England ODI ranked number one in the world and seven places above them.

The series featured standout performances from opening batsman Chris Gayle, captain Jason Holder and the team’s pace bowlers.  If they are to mount a serious challenge in England, Lara believes they must find a way to replicate such outstanding performance on a routine basis.

“I am happy that we have made that little progress since we came here (in India) last October,” Lara said in a recent interview.

“The West Indies have match winners, but that’s not enough to play in English conditions and win the World Cup. We need a team that is consistent,” he added.

The West Indies will begin the tournament with a match against Pakistan on June 31st.

When Brian Lara walked out at number three in the fourth Test of a series in the Caribbean against England, nobody could have foreseen that he would be batting 582 deliveries later, breaking the Matthew Hayden record of 380. 

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