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Unmoved: Lara says he's sticking with formula

The Barbados Nation

February 19 1998

BRIAN LARA isn't going along with those armchair, call-in and rum shop selectors advocating changes to the West Indies team for the fourth Cable & Wireless Test against England.

The new West Indies captain pointed out that, while the batsmen struggled in the two, back-to-back Tests at the Queen's Park Oval, there were extenuating circumstances.

And he hinted that the policy of including six fast bowlers in the squad of 13 would not be altered.

``We've got 96 first-class cricketers playing cricket (in the West Indies) and anybody who has done well has a chance of playing for the West Indies but you've got to take into consideration that the guys had a very difficult pitch to bat on,'' Lara said after Tuesday's loss in the third Test that levelled the series 1-1.

``It was slow, you had to graft on it, but some guys did come out with reasonable scores,'' he said. ``You expect them now to go on to use the experience they've gained in these last couple of matches and ensure that they get some runs in the next round of President's Cup matches and maintain their places for the next Test match.''

Lara's Trinidad and Tobago play Jamaica, including Jimmy Adams, in one match at Sabina Park, Kingston, starting today, while Barbados, with Test opener Sherwin Campbell, meet the Windward Islands at Tanteen in Grenada, starting tomorrow.

The Leeward Islands are idle as Guyana take on England at Everest Club grounds in Georgetown, starting Saturday.

Lara was asked if he would have preferred a leg-spinner to one of the fast bowlers for the third Test.

``We've picked four fast bowlers and maintained six fast bowlers (in the squad) for the last three Test matches and are focusing on that,'' he said. ``It's not right for me to say I would have liked a leg-spinner at that point in time. I thought Carl (Hooper) bowled well, Jimmy (Adams) bowled well the little time he had to bowl and I felt we got things together.''

But, without identifying them, he did concede that some bowlers ``might not have been suited to the track.'' Neither Kenny Benjamin nor Nixon McLean, the backup fast bowlers, took a wicket in the third Test.

``We've got five selectors who've got a job to do,'' Lara said. ``We've tried, as much as possible, to put the best team out there with the best batting order and we're going to focus as much as possible on that.''

``If it's to maintain the same batting order or batting team or change it a bit, you're going to find out when the time is right.''

Lara said chief selector Wes Hall had not yet set a time for the meeting to pick the team for the Guyana Test.

Source: The Barbados Nation
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Date-stamped : 20 Feb1998 - 18:19