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BARBADOS - 23, 0, 0, 36, 33 . . .

But Lara Vows To Keep Soldiering On -

Tuesday 06, April-2004


CRICKET CAPTAIN Brian Lara has faced immense and intense pressure and criticism from all quarters since the West Indies defeat by England in the third test at Kensington Oval on Saturday.

But the captain has vowed he will not raise the white flag, that he will soldier on amidst the personal and team battles.

In this series the champion left-hander’s personal form has matched that of the West Indies team as a whole, and with his men trailing 0-3 in the series many feel he should step aside.

“I have another Test match to focus on,” he said, “so the time for assessing my position of captain is not now,” he told Saturday’s media conference before returning to the dressing room where he wept openly.

“Assessment time will come,” he said, “but I am here to play for West Indies and I will be doing that for some time to come.”

Yesterday at Kensington Oval he looked cheerful in the morning net session. In the early stages he did some reflex catches with Barbados coach Hendy Springer, and then did more catching with physio Andrew Simpson.

There was no discomfort from the damaged finger he suffered in the first Test in Jamaica and he batted comfortably, stroking the ball with ease.

Lara was not part of the group which coach Gus Logie summoned to a special batsmen’s net session at the Oval on Sunday.

He had a long selection meeting, while fast bowlers Corey Collymore, Fidel Edwards, Pedro Collins and Tino Best were offered a rest.

This has been a miserable series for the 34-year-old, who up to recently, was rated No. 1 batsman in the world.

He has scores of 23 and 0 at Sabina Park, a “duck” and 8 at home in Trinidad and 36 and 33 at Kensington.

He is the head of the batting and his failures have had a trickle-down effect with the Windies bowled out for 311, 47, 208, 209, 224 and 94 in the three Tests they lost.

His tactics on the field have been baffling at times and many queried why he allowed off-spinner Chris Gayle a long spell on Day 2 of the Barbados Test.

Lara’s explanation at Saturday’s media conference was that the West Indies were happy with the position of the game and things worked according to plan.

This is Lara’s “second coming” as skipper. He stepped down four years ago after a whitewash in Zealand but began a second spell in charge after last year’s World Cup, replacing Carl Hooper.

Since then, the West Indies have suffered series losses to Australia, South Africa and England.

The eight-wicket loss inside three days in the third Test on Saturday meant it was the first time in 36 years that England had won a Test series in the Caribbean.

Compliments of the Nation News


Caribbean Cricket

Sporting islands

Dwayne Smith pommels another delivery six during his explosive 94 which came off just 63 balls at the 3Ws Oval against Jamaica yesterday. (Picture by Gordon Brooks.)

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