Sunrisers in with a great chance to bounce back in IPL with 'Coach' Lara!
For a world used to seeing his flamboyance and flair with the bat, magnified further by a batting stance that could only be enjoyed - not emulated - Brian Lara has proven that there's more to him.
Brian Lara - Sunrisers Hyderabad's new head coach [PC: Twitter]
He's proven that at 53. It's an age where one's either a former cricketer happily retired or waxing lyrical all day about Cricket.
Not Brian Lara; the Prince of Trinidad has assumed charge of an IPL team about which only two things can be said.
First, that they are yet to reach their full potential, despite winning a title back in 2016.
And second, that they now have a chance, a real chance to extract the most of their own potential; the chance of the latter seeming certain with Brian Lara at the helm of affairs at Hyderabad.
Remember, Sunrisers Hyderabad aren't the most successful side in the IPL by any stretch of the imagination. At the same time, they aren't the worst. Perhaps that tag has so often belonged to a Delhi, Punjab and Rajasthan with Hyderabad a close fourth of an unlikely quartet that always seems to lag behind despite having the goods.
Which precisely brings to light the most relevant question where the Sunrisers are concerned: just what could happen to the side in 2023 with Lara as the head coach?
As a matter of factly, would Lara even be successful as a coach?
Much like how Paris' main attraction point for tourists is the Eiffel Tower and the unquestionably historic Louvres, Brian Lara's main pull for the audiences has been his batting.
Of that there's little doubt.
The left-hander did seem in fine touch during 2020, where, as a 51-year-old, he smashed bowlers to all parts of the ground albeit in the friendly contest for Australian bushfire charity game.
Lara's greatest strength since always has been his captivating batting. He did captain the side in the late nineties and even in the late 2000s, but Brian Lara's leadership skills have, at the best, been a subject so polarising that it could still fill blank pages on leading Caribbean journals with both vitriol and plaudits.
Lara during his playing days. One of the best of his generation. [PC: Twitter]
It was Lara that partnered Chanderpaul in countless rescue operations where the Windies habitually embarrassed themselves. It was Lara who motivated Sarwan, found Bravo and pushed him to his best instead of just being a vain role-model. Moreover, among the most under-appreciated facts of the Trinidadian's journey was the 2004 cricketing season, where Sachin's then rival put all the faith in not the world's fastest speedster.
The banal-looking-but-surprisingly-effective Ian Bradshaw was the find of 2004 in that it were his calm batting and economical bowling that shone brightly for the West Indies in the Champion's Trophy.
But there was also a flipside; so often during Lara's reign as captain were the West Indies on the brink of despair that when not making news for frequent strikes and run-ins with the board, the cricket team mostly made up the bad news.
That wasn't done. That wasn't glittery; anything like the hair-raising and awe-inspiring unbeaten 153 by the Prince against Australia in Barbados.
Though all of that said, the Lara that's on the job for the Sunrisers is neither the batsman nor the former captain; he's the experienced icon on whose shoulders enough faith has been entrusted that could revive the fortunes of a side that so often seem fledgling.
The end result, Sunrisers would hope, is, at least, a lift of spirits that one can only imagine with the mere presence of someone like Brian Lara around.
And cliches be darned, it's not the swag about Lara, which's accidentally the most overused word in cricketing lexicon of the 21st century that endears the West Indian to so many.
It's Lara's enormous self-confidence and his precise judgment about handling spin and pace, to give a small example, that would lend enormous confidence to anyone and everyone; whether Kane Williamson, Aiden Markram, Rahul Tripathi or Abhishek Sharma.
Kane Williamson leading his pact from the front in IPL 2022 [PC: iplt20.com]
On the other hand, and knowing his penchant for still tackling challenges, where batsmen his age would much rather hold on to their L-guards, Lara in the nets against Umran Malik will give SRH a clearer picture of just how good a bowler the tearaway is.
Lara will bring all this and more and forget not the fact that given India is in his heart, a country he's so fond of, the Prince of Trinidad would love to transform the on-again, off-again SRH into kings of the IPL.
But then, can he do it all alone? Will he not be missing the priceless experience of Tom Moody? At the same time, can the coaching trinity of Murali, VVS and Lara turn it around?
There's so much to look forward to if you are down south in India's often understated wonderland called Hyderabad.
Though one thing is certain; there's clear chemistry between the two. One the one hand is the Prince and on the other, his mega plans in the city of Nawabs.
It all looks exciting. Enticing even. One can't wait for 2023.