Was IPL Coaching Stint With Sunrisers Hyderabad ‘Bad’ For Brian Lara? West Indies Great’s Honest Answer

West Indies cricket great Brian Lara loves India and for a change, Bollywood has got nothing to do with it.

A smiling face at every corner, adulation that reminds him of family and to top it all off, a spicy, delectable plate of ‘chhole bhature’. West Indies cricket great Brian Lara loves India and for a change, Bollywood has got nothing to do with it. The 55-year-old, who is in the country doing commentary for Star Sports in the ongoing IPL, took time out to visit the PTI headquarters for a free-wheeling interaction with its editors and did not hide his affection for the country where cricket is an obsession.

“I’m not a big Bollywood fan. I do come from a country with majority Indian population…So, there is a lot of interest in Bollywood. I’m not even an English movie fan. So unfortunately…Harry Potter and these things, I haven’t really seen,” he quipped with a wide grin on his face, turning on the charm offensive.

“But what I do like about India is the unconditional love,” he quickly added.

Arguably one of the greatest batters of all time and one of the most recognisable cricketers internationally, Lara said what makes his love for India enduring is the warmth with which he is welcomed here.

“I think when you come to India, the way how you’re treated, you know, and when you turn any corner there’s a smile on someone’s face just from seeing you. I think that is something that is refreshing and you know it’s also very positive,” he said.

“It has a positive effect on me being in India, being loved in a foreign country and the way that they…Walking in Miami on South Beach, everybody’s pushing you out of the way.

“But in India, it’s a whole different story, everybody pushing into you,” he said while trying to explain what makes India so special for him.

“So, I think that from someone who started playing the game for the adulation from my father and from my siblings to having the adulation in India is something that I love, but it’s also the serenity of the people,” he added.

However, not all his India experiences have been pleasant. Lara has no qualms conceding that the way his coaching stint with Sunrisers Hyderabad ended was rather “bad” but the West Indies icon still picked it as one of his favourite to make the IPL knockouts this year.

His other three picks being Rajasthan Royals, Kolkata Knight Riders, and Chennai Super Kings.

“…I have to make it very clear because sometimes people will think your relationship with SRH was so bad but I would love to see SRH do well. I feel it is a continuation of something,” Lara said.

Coming back to ‘chhole bhature’, Lara said the popular north-Indian street food meal is very similar to something he is used to eating at home.

“I like it and it’s very close to a dish in Trinidad called Doubles. Yeah, so look it up, Trinidad Doubles and look at chhole bhature and it’s something very, very similar,” he said referring to a popular breakfast option back home.

“And I can tell you, when the Indian players come to Trinidad, they have our doubles, they love it,” he revealed.

Coaching over commentary

Lara is currently enjoying his commentary stint but it’s not without its fair share of challenges.

“One of the things, the challenges that I have is sort of getting excited and sort of creating excitement for the crowd when I believe something average has happened,” he said rather candidly.

“So, a guy plays a big cover drive and it’s inside edge for four and I have to get excited for it, it’s kind of tough,” he explained.

But then there are moments he enjoys too.

“But to be a part of the IPL and to be a part of a cricket game and say, for instance, when Shamar Joseph picked up those seven wickets in that Test match in Australia, and to be able to call that period is exciting in itself,” he recalled referring to the seven-wicket burst by Joseph while bowling with a broken toe.

What he truly craves to do, however, is coach young players. “You know, my number one, I think, experience that I have is coaching. I think working with young players and seeing them grow is wonderful…I don’t like being too critical of players and I like keeping my opinion sometimes behind closed doors, so it’s a learning experience for me being a commentator,” he said.

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