It is exactly 16 years since Brian Lara swept Gareth Batty behind square and trotted through for his 400th run of a remarkable innings.

On April 12, 2004, Lara not only reclaimed the record Test innings, he set a mark that remains standing today.

The West Indies great frustrated England's attack across two and a half days in Antigua, the Test eventually finishing as a draw to ensure the hosts avoided a 4-0 whitewash.

The 1,696th Test of all time belonged to Lara. Here, we take a look back at his 400 not out in numbers.

 

16.66 average - Lara's fourth Test score was all the more incredible given he had made just a combined 100 runs at an average of 16.66 across the previous three matches in the series.

12 hours, 58 minutes - Lara batted for 12 hours and 58 minutes to get his record. That is only the seventh longest Test innings of all time, though, with Pakistan's Hanif Mohammad having occupied the crease for over 16 hours against West Indies in 1958.

582 deliveries - England used seven bowlers in that West Indies innings and Lara faced 582 balls without getting out. However, that does not even make the top 10 longest vigils in terms of balls faced, with Len Hutton leading the way when he faced 847 balls in 1938.

43 fours, four sixes - Of Lara's unbeaten 400, 196 runs were made via boundaries (43 fours and four sixes). He scored more fours (45) when making 375 against England a decade earlier, though he failed to clear the ropes in that match.

68.72 strike rate - Across 232 Test innings, Lara had a strike rate of 60.51 so he was actually marginally more aggressive than normal during his knock against England.

Unbroken 282-run stand for the sixth wicket - Lara shared two partnerships worth over 200 runs during his innings. He made 232 alongside Ramnaresh Sarwan (90) for the third wicket then made 159 of the 282 he and Ridley Jacobs (107 not out) accumulated before the Windies declared on 751-5.

185 days - Just six months after Australia opener Matthew Hayden broke Lara's previous Test record with 380 against Zimbabwe, the previous holder took back the honour.

5,844 days - Lara's record has now stood for 5,844 days. Since his innings, Mahela Jayawardene (374 in 2006) and David Warner (335 not out in 2019) are the two men who have come closest to eclipsing it.

Former West Indies captain Darren Sammy believes his contemporary, white ball skipper, Kieron Pollard is right for the job but needs time to get his team going.

According to Sammy, Pollard always wants to win and that is the mindset that is needed from the leader of a team if it is to be successful.

“I think what Pollard will bring is that attacking mindset,” said Sammy.

“I think his mindset is always geared towards winning and I think that’s what a leader’s mindset should be,” he said.

However, the mindset alone will not be enough to give the West Indies the edge they need to successfully defend their T20 World Cup set for November.

“He needs time. They need time to learn as a playing group,” said Sammy.

According to the only skipper to lead a team to two T20 World Cup titles, he benefitted from that time ahead of the team’s first World Cup title win.

“I am only talking from experience, from captaining in 2010. By the time 2012 came I knew so many of those guys, what situations to use them in and from constant dialogue, how I would go and who I would want to execute for me in different situations,” said Sammy.

While he is aware that his playing days with the West Indies are over, Sammy, who said he had a vision of being part of a successful T20 World Cup title defence, still wants to contribute to Pollard’s rise.

The West Indies can win in England this summer, so says their Test captain, Jason Holder.

The skipper believes his team, having experienced English conditions in a heavy defeat in 2017, have the experience to make restitution for that earlier performance.

The West Indies are scheduled to to play three Tests in England beginning June 1 but there isn’t a lot of hope that it won’t, at the very least, be postponed because of the government’s directives to combat the spread of COVID-19 in that country.

The England Cricket Board and Cricket West Indies have had preliminary discussions and should be meeting again on Sunday to decide a way forward, with the possibility of playing to empty stands, postponements or both still on the cards.

Before the series, the West Indies were to have played three warm-up matches with a camp at the Rose Bowl in Hampshire, but that is also not expected to happen, at least not in the same way or maybe even at the same time.

Holder though, is hopeful that the series will go on.

While the series in England was destructive to the West Indian confidence, last year in the Caribbean, the West Indies had bested England 2-1 in a series that showed they could, not just compete, but hurt the generations-long rivals.

"This series will be tougher than the one in the Caribbean because we are obviously going in their backyard. England are a very, very good team in their backyard. Even although we beat them in the last series I'll still say England will start as favourites," said Holder.  

According to Holder though, the West Indies aren’t the inexperienced bunch England would have played three years ago when they lost 2-1.

"You've got guys like Kraigg Brathwaite who has played county cricket as well and international cricket there. Shai [Hope] has played enough international cricket and did really well as well. So we have some guys going back there with a vengeance.

"If you speak to a lot of guys who were on that tour in 2017 everybody will say they can't wait to go back and probably just make amends for what would've happened in 2017. We believed personally in our abilities, it is just a matter of understanding the conditions and now that we've had that experience, I should only hope that we should be able to then put into practice and make a better show than we did last time," said Holder.

Yohan Blake, the 2012 double Olympic silver medallist, has been making the most of the downtime brought on by the Coronavirus pandemic. The 30-year-old sprinter has been spending a lot of his time in training and playing a bit of back-yard cricket.

West Indies Test captain Jason Holder has admitted that losing the captaincy of the region’s One Day International team has not been easy for him.

Holder was replaced as captain of the ODI team last September by Kieron Pollard but was retained as a player. According to the former skipper, the transition from that leadership role has been tough.

"To be quite honest, it has been tough transitioning back just as a player," Holder said on TalkSPORT recently.

According to the former skipper, first he had to contend with getting back into the team.

"In hindsight, it has been tough trying to understand how to get back in as just a player," he said.

The switch from Holder to Pollard had caught the former by surprise, learning of it during last year’s Hero Caribbean Premier League, a tournament he went on to win as captain of the Barbados Tridents.

"Yeah, it was an interesting time for me. I had found out earlier in the tournament that we have moved as one-day international captain. For me, it was just trying to win it [the CPL]," he said.

Just prior to the switch and since, Holder has not proven very effective in the ODI version of the game, but says this is not a bother for him because he is acutely aware of his own ability.

Many had suggested that Holder’s place in the team was in question and he would not be in it were he not captain.

To date, Holder has taken 136 wickets in 111 innings at an average of 36.38, but in his last eight innings with the ball, he has not been able to get near those figures.

In 10 innings prior to losing the captaincy, Holder had seven wickets at an average of 69.85, while in the eight he has played since, he has picked up six at an average of 66.16.

"Performances obviously haven't been there as I would've probably liked, but I'm not too disheartened," Holder said. "I don't beat myself up. I don't get too worried because I know my ability. I know what I can produce. I just know that an innings is around the corner, a bowling effort is around the corner."

According to the Test skipper, he may have been suffering from a bit of burnout, having played 62 matches in 2019.

"I felt I needed the break after the India series [in December] particularly, just to refresh," Holder said.

"I had played every single series in the entire year, I played county cricket as well, and my batteries needed a little bit of a recharge. Obviously, I needed some time to go and think about how I wanted to go forward as a player and try to work out again how just to be a player as opposed to being the captain."

West Indies ODI and T20 captain Kieron Pollard rates his quick-fire 38 against Australia in semi-finals of the 2012 ICC World Cup as one of the best and most important performances of his career.

Like most sportspersons and fans, Hayden Walsh Jr. is anxious for action in his preferred sport to restart.

More particularly, Walsh Jr is relishing the opportunity to turn out for defending Hero Caribbean Premier League champions, the Barbados Tridents.

Walsh Jr was the leading wicket-taker for the Tridents, bagging 22 wickets on his way to helping the side lay claim to its second CPL win. More interesting than the success for Walsh Jr, though, is the experience of playing for the Barbados franchise and being led by West Indies Test captain, Jason Holder.

“I really enjoyed the Tridents setup last year with the whole coaching staff and the team and everyone just jelled together and even in the times where we looked as if we were going to go out quite miserably we still stuck together and fight it out to win the championship. So I think that was the most rewarding part of being part of the setup,” said Walsh Jr.

To boot, Walsh Jr was coached by the man who went on to lead the coaching staff of West Indies cricket in former West Indies opening batsman turned all-rounder, Phil Simmons.

“He’s like a father and I’d say he’s like a father-coach. He’s stern when he needs to be stern, he jokes around when it’s time to joke around and when things are not right he puts them into place, so it’s like when your parents or father sees things are out of place and they would put them in place. I think he has been a real father figure for all of us, even the big stars and stuff, so I really enjoy playing under him,” said Walsh Jr.

As of now, the CPL is still scheduled from August 19 to September 26 but that remaining so will depend on the spread of the Coronavirus up to that point.

COVID-19, the disease caused by the Coronavirus, has so far affected more than 1.6 million people worldwide and led to almost 96,000 deaths.

Michael Holding says while he lacks intimate knowledge of what the Ricky Skerritt-led administration of Cricket West Indies has been doing since it took office last year March, things seem to be moving in the right direction.

He also expressed his satisfaction that players are keen to represent the West Indies once more.

The former fast bowler was speaking on the Mason and Guest show in Barbados on Tuesday.

He said he has been told that the year-old CWI administration had set up committees to get some key things done but most importantly, he said there were good signs for West Indies cricket following the emergence of talented players such as Nicholas Pooran, Shimron Hetmyer and Shai Hope.

"Another thing that I am happy with is that youngsters are now looking forward to representing the Windies again, and everybody is now making themselves available again, which is important," he said.

"I see light at the end of the tunnel because I see talent. Once there is talent, there has to be light at the end of the tunnel. Those three guys are three of the most talented I have seen in the last three to four years. When I look at cricketers, I look at who can make other teams around the world, and those three guys can make most other teams."

Holding was speaking from the Cayman Islands where he is currently during the global pandemic that has shut down sports across the globe.

The Jamaica Football Federation (JFF), in effort to ease the financial pressure facing clubs in the Red Stripe Premier League, has decided to forego payments due from clubs on office rental, utilities, registration fees, contract administrative fees as well as home match levies, yellow and red card fees for the 2019-2020 season.

West Indies legend Viv Richards has revealed the reason he never wore a helmet when facing some of the most fearsome fast bowlers the game has ever seen was that he never minded dying on the pitch.

The Master Blaster was certainly adept at sending the best deliveries of huffing bowlers crashing back into the stands.  But surely, any slight miscalculation, particularly with no restrictions yet implemented on bouncers, could have sent a 90mph delivery crashing into his skull.  Richards, however, believes the risk was simply a part of the game.

“The passion for the game I felt was such that I wouldn’t mind dying playing something that I love. If this is what I chose and I go down here, what better way is there to go,” Richards told former Australian all-rounder Shane Watson on a recent podcast.

The big West Indian was known for relying on reflex, quickness of eye, and technique to keep him out of trouble.

“I have looked at other sportsmen and women who I have a lot of respect for doing it to an extreme level. I see a guy driving a Formula 1 racing car, what could be more dangerous than that?” said Richards, to which Watson jokingly replied, “Facing 150kph without a helmet?”

Richards who scored 8540 runs in Test cricket, had a high score of 291 and averaged 50.23.  In ODIs, he scored 6721 with a highest of 189 and an average of 47.

In its 2020 Almanack, Wisden has named Andre Russell as their leading Twenty20 cricketer in the world for 2019.

Veteran cricket commentator Michael Holding has revealed that he plans to hang up his microphone very soon.

Roger Harper, the Chairman of the West Indies selectors believes the team needs many more world-class players if it is going to be able to consistently compete with the best teams in the world. He also believes the individual territories need to a better job of creating those types of players.

Dr Emir Crowne and Matthew Gayle, the lawyers representing the ousted executive of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) have proposed that Mark Hovell, a solicitor from Manchester, England, be the sole arbitrator in their case against football’s world governing body FIFA.

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