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The best parting gift...

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Is this what the ICC's / Organizer's rigid and often ridiculous rules and restrictions have been denying us of all this while? Packed, cricket crazy carribbean audiences, drums, music, the Windies party.....in Lara's final game, he has received the best gift of them all - a fantastic, fantastic advertisement for Cricket.
 
It's not been a perfect World Cup, and romantics have had a tough time living in denial with the cynic's constant jibes at the poor attendence, poor atmosphere, not-so-great cricket. Finally, here is the sign that cricket is alive, well and absolutely rocking in the Caribbean.It couldn't have been scripted better(the Lara run out and Windies defeat notwithstanding). A close, tight, exciting game, some excellent all round cricket, and most hearteningly, some real passion from everyone - including the English team.

Of course, once the party is over and the hangover clears, we will come to realize that the West Indian cricket team has been left a lot poorer. This was the time more than any other that they needed Lara, to atleast act as caretaker till the rebuilding process is done.
 
And of course, World Cricket will be left a lot poorer too. How do you replace such an iconic figure? And worse still - how do you replace him with someone from the present West Indian lot? The current Windies team has a lot of talent(as shown yesterday), but there isn't anyone with the spark and potential to grow into the mass hysteria-attracting, loved-across-the-world figure. I can't spot anyone here (or anywhere else in the world, for that matter) who, when he chooses to retire 10 years on, will make people in the stands shed a few quiet tears.


The last, almost inconsequential, dead-rubber game in the tournament has produced possibly the best cricketing experience of the past two months -don't even get me started on the irony of it all. Lara has always been a man of entertainment, and it is fitting that his last game has been the burst of life and drama that this tournament has been looking for. Even as he left with his parting gift, Lara gave us the biggest gift of them all - a glimpse into what cricket in the Windies must have been like in the Golden ages of Lloyd and co.
 
"Did I entertain you?" That way no else could, maaaan, the way no one else could.


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