Wellington - West Indies legend Brian Lara was so impressed with a letter he received from an eight-year-old New Zealand lad that he popped into his school unannounced for an impromptu game of cricket.
The record-breaking left-hander was in New Zealand as a celebrity guest at the New Zealand Open golf tournament when he received a batch of welcome letters written by pupils at the Arrowtown school in Central Otago.
Lara said on Saturday he found the letter from young Hugh Hodgson, listing things he could do in the historic gold-mining town, was so touching he decided to meet the youngster and his schoolmates.
"He sent me a very nice letter and after a good day of golf yesterday it put that extra smile on my face to read it at my hotel, Lara said.
"It was so nice of him and his classmates in Room 8 to write letters to myself and some of the other players. This is a great place and it only got better to have a welcome like that.
Hugh said he told Lara where to hire a gold pan and to "go to the river and find some gold."
Lara, who holds the record for the highest Test score with 400 not out against England in 2004, spent nearly an hour at the school taking the children through warm-up drills before a game of cricket.
Hugh's classmate Sophie Rasmussen won bragging rights on the day and will go down in history as the eight-year-old girl who bowled out the great Brian Lara.