Many have been left wondering what prompted Brian Charles Lara to put his huge reputation at stake for the Indian Premier League.
Four years ago, Lara would have been a sure bet among the prize catches for the team owners. But at 41 --- may be, may be not?
It's a tournament where
there is no room for sentiment or reputations. It's only about your currency value (Lara can check with his biggest cricketing foe Glenn McGrath). And, four years after retirement, does Lara have that to appeal to the business and cricket managers of the Ambanis, Mallyas, Wadias or Kundras?
The fate of Lara's IPL dreams will be decided on Saturday when he goes under the hammer in the auction grouped in the top base prize bracket.
"Maybe, he's missing the game. Maybe, he feels he's got a little more to offer to the game," the legendary batsman's former captain, Richie Richardson, told Hindustan Times, pondering over the reasons which might have prompted Lara to throw his hat into the IPL ring.
With his status as a legend of the game, the name 'Lara' offers a proven brand value. But on the flip side, he is known to be temperamental and has a history of disciplinary issues. It is unlikely that the eight original teams, with established brands, will risk their money on the ageing star. However, new franchises Kochi and Pune might be interested keeping the brand value in mind.
"Lara's name is still fresh in everyone's mind. They remember how destructive he was as a batsman; they remember his records. He will make a tremendous impact not only on the players but the fans in general," Richardson, under whose captaincy Lara played his best cricket, observed.
"It (his comeback) is a great thing for cricket and for the Indian Premier League. He's one of the greatest batsmen of the modern era. Even though he has retired, he is still capable of scoring a lot of runs and his attacking game is ideally suited to the Twenty20 format."
The risk for the franchises is the three-year contract period. Even if Lara manages to get in shape for this summer's edition, it will be too much of a gamble regards his fitness for the next two years.
"I met him in November and he was in pretty good shape. It depends on his frame of mind. He's an individual if who wants to do something, he will do it.
"The individual that I know him to be, he would say, 'I am going to break the record today', and would go out and do it. I am pretty sure he can play up to five more years if he doesn't get injured."