The last thing Brian Lara expected when he entered a pub in New South Wales over the weekend was to sign a contract to play Division 5 grade cricket.
But that’s exactly what happened to the legendary West Indies batsman.
In a crazy report brought to our attention by The Sydney Morning Herald, Lara was spotted in the Albion Hotel on Friday.
Players from The Bennett Hotel Centurions spotted Lara at the bar and, in a brilliant show of opportunism, asked the 47-year-old if he wanted to play.
Lara scored nearly 12,000 Test runs and more than 10,000 runs in one-day internationals. His top score in first-class cricket is 501 not out, scored for Warwickshire against Durham in 1994, has gone down as one of the most impressive batting performances in history.
Now, he will face bowlers from the Newcastle C&S D5 competition.
"What time do we play tomorrow?" Lara asked his new teammates as he signed on the dotted line.
He read the contract from top to bottom
It seems that the left-handed batsman is taking this deadly seriously, too.
"He went around and shook everyone's hands and was really approachable," Centurions player Darren Wilton said.
"If you wanted to ask him something you just walked up to him, so it just grew out of that."
This is not a hoax
A C&S registration form was printed out at the bar and handed to an unsuspecting Lara.
“He read it from top to bottom," Mr Wilton added. "He's obviously signed a few contracts in his day.
"He signed it and took it in the nature that it was intended."
As they submitted the paperwork t the Newcastle C&S Association, the Centurions added a note that reflects the incredulity of the story: “this is not a hoax”.
The moral of the story? If you don’t ask, you don’t get.