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Lara better

sportsbrianlaraLONDON — It has been the unsettled argument for the past two decades and now a cricketing great has added his voice to the subject.

Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting today said he rated former West Indies captain Brian Lara ahead of Indian batting genius Sachin Tendulkar and added he felt the gifted left- hander enabled his team to win more matches. The Australian said for him winning games and series was more important than scoring hundreds and in that regard he rated Lara as a more dangerous batsman.

“Sachin and Lara were the two stand-out batsmen for me. Lara won more games for his team than Sachin probably has. I’d lose more sleep as captain knowing Lara was coming in to bat next day than I would with Sachin,” Ponting said.

119260222TS018_England_And_“You always found a way to restrict Sachin if you needed to. Lara could turn it on in half an hour and take a game away from you. For me, it has never been about making hundreds, it is about winning games and series,” Ponting told the Evening Standard.

Lara, 44, ended his international career in 2007 having scored 11 953 Test runs with 34 centuries at an average of 52.88. Tendulkar, 40, still plays international cricket and has accumulated 15 837 Test runs at an average of 53.86 with 51 centuries.

Ponting, who recently bid goodbye to first-class cricket with a ton for Surrey, brought up the point about Sachin and Lara while explaining that even though Kevin Pietersen was a match-winner for England, he was not ‘head and shoulders’ above Australian skipper Michael Clarke.

“He’s (Kevin Pietersen) not head and shoulders over Clarke, no way. His record wouldn’t suggest he is better than Clarke. And Alastair Cook’s record is a lot better than Pietersen’s. He has more hundreds in fewer Tests than Pietersen and as an opener. Look, Kevin is a destructive and match-winning player but you have to judge batsmen by their records,” he said before bringing up the comparison between the Indian and West Indies legends.

The former Aussie skipper, who is the only Australian skipper to lose the Ashes twice, said that he stuck by his prediction that Clarke’s team would outclass England 2-1 in the ongoing Ashes.

“I said 2-1 to Australia at the start and nothing has changed for me, no,” he insisted. “We’ve got a lot of hard work to do but it seems like things are on the right track. It is a Test match lost but for the Aussies it will reinforce them to think just how close they are and may be there’s not that big a gulf between the teams.

“If they can take that away from the first Test it will do them good at Lord’s this week. We have some very good young players. They are just starting to find their way and Ashes series tend to bring out the best in some,” he added.

Ponting, 38, who finished his Test career last December with 13 378 runs at an average of 51.88 and with 41 centuries, is headed to the Caribbean for the inaugural Limacol Caribbean Premier League as one of the six overseas franchise players. He will be turning out for the Antigua Hawksbill franchise, his penultimate stint before retiring from all cricket.

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