This is a debate that will probably never die: Brian Lara or Sachin Tendulkar?
Sachin holds many of the cricket's records -- most matches, most runs and most centuries. Lara is the holder of the highest individual score in Tests and in his time, remained a batsman capable of winning matches single-handedly right to the end.
While Sachin changed and adapted, Lara stayed true to his roots -- he remained one of the most exciting batsmen to watch in world cricket. Some might say that this is a pointless debate... why even bother when both batsmen gave their fans plenty of joy.
Lara was a storm while Sachin was the calm before the storm. There were times when they morphed into very different batsmen but on the whole that was the story.
But when Ricky Ponting, who at one point and still is one of the finest batsmen the world has seen, decides to weigh in, we stop and listen. For Ponting, the deciding factor is whether a batsman helps his team win matches.
“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," said Ponting in an interview to Evening Standard.
"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 further added.
If one speaks about special match-winning innings, Lara probably has the edge. But then Tendulkar has a far greater number of innings that counted towards a cause. If Lara battled alone, then so did Tendulkar at the beginning of his career. It was never a one-way street -- it probably never be.