Cricket

Of comparisons and imitations

Darren Bravo's batting style is compared to Brian Lara's. Photo: S. Subramanium  

Brian Lara at the Ferozeshah Kotla! Darren Bravo belted the ball in the middle and triggered excitement among some. His striking similarity to Lara has been the talk on the international cricket circuit. And he has learnt to live with this burden of comparisons with Lara.

Lara was great. Bravo aims to become one. There is a concerted effort to establish his identity even though Bravo does not mind the comparison. It motivates him. Clones are known to love the attention. Not all though. “It's a privilege,” notes Bravo, on constant reference to his batting style being so Lara-like.

The game has seen some players consciously imitating the mannerisms of stars. Virender Sehwag would often be embarrassed with people saying how he reminded them of Sachin Tendulkar at work. “It can never be,” Sehwag would plead. “It should never be,” Sehwag would insist.

Avishkar Salvi, the gangling medium-fast bowler from Mumbai, styled his action on Glenn McGrath, the lanky Aussie. The run-up, release, landing and the follow-through — the likeness is remarkable. Don't miss the watch on his left wrist. He loved it when they called him, “McGrath, McGrath.”

It helps sometimes. But often it creates a burden. Like Carlton Saldhana, the elegant former opener from Karnataka, would remember. He never made any conscious effort to style his batting on the great Sunil Gavaskar.

“It just happened. We did not have many visuals those days to watch and become someone's clone. I remember people would mention but then it was more in fun,” said Saldhana, whose gait and stance was a pleasant reflection of Gavaskar.

When not being called a clone, some players find themselves compared for their batting styles. V. V. S. Laxman would sometimes be embarrassed when critics would compare his ‘wristy' play with Hyderabad state-mate Mohammad Azharuddin.

“Please,” Laxman would confess in private. “There cannot be any comparison. ‘Azzu bhai' is far, far superior. I can't ape his class.”

In Bravo's case, he would have to learn to accept the comparisons. Even Clive Lloyd says he is “very much like Lara.”

How does Bravo look at it? “It's a great feeling when you hear that coming from Brian. He has always been my role model and I would like to make a name for myself and perform for my country.”

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Printable version | May 8, 2021 12:47:51 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/cricket/Of-comparisons-and-imitations/article14929207.ece

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