Lara wanted to talk but Dravid and I turned our backs: Deep Dasgupta reveals plan to bore West Indian legend on 2002 tour
When the Sourav Ganguly-led Indian side was touring West Indies in 2002, their biggest headache was Brian Lara. The West Indian legend was one of the best batsmen going around in world cricket along with the likes of Sachin Tendulkar and Ricky Ponting. If India had to beat West Indies, they had to keep Lara quiet. As astonishing as it may sound, but to do that, India derived a strategy that had nothing to do with the type of line and length was to be bowled at Lara, or any specific field positions. Former India wicket-keeper Deep Dasgupta revealed that India had planned to bore Lara out by not indulging in any sort of communication while he was batting in the middle.
Dasgupta, who was on his second big tour after making his debut in South Africa, said the plan of not talking to Lara was made in the team meeting before the first Test match at Guyana.
“One of the funniest things that ever happened was when we were playing against the West Indies in 2002. It was the first Test in Guayana and in the team meeting we were talking about how to handle Brian Lara. Some of the things that were said in that meeting were ‘don’t talk to him’. I was like, what are you saying? They said ‘he would get bored and get out,” recalled Dasgupta in a show called 22 Yarns with Gaurav Kapoor.
Dasgupta, who has played 8 Test matches and 5 ODIs for India between 2001 and 2002, said Lara wanted to talk to him and Rahul Dravid, who used to be at first slip most of the time when the spinners were operating. But both of them used to turn their backs and look in different directions.
“Whenever a spinner would bowl, I was behind the wicket and Rahul was there in the slips, Brian would play a ball, he would turn around wanting to talk to me or Rahul and we would turn our backs and look the other way. He would want to start a conversation and we would be like, no, nothing happening,” said Dasgupta.
The wicket-keeper batsman further added that Lara was someone who loved to talk about his batting even with the opposition during a Test match.
“He just wanted to chat, that’s the kind of batsman he was. He would love to talk about his batting, he would want to talk about everything,” Dasgupta added.
India did not manage to win the series as the hosts took the five-match series 2-1 despite India taking a 1-0 lead but they did not manage to keep Lara quiet throughout the series. Lara scored 202 runs in the five-match series at an average of 28.85 and with only two fifties.
“He would get bored and get out And that’s exactly what happened right through the series, Brian didn’t get a lot of runs there,” Dasgupta added.
The India wicket-keeper, however, did not fail to mention that the Indian cricketers would talk to Lara normally after the match.
“We would talk to him everytime we meet him outside the field but whenever he came out to bat nobody would talk to him,” said Dasgupta.