Lara: No split in Windies Test team

Gerald Reid , Freelance Writer

January 28, 1998

CRICKET: Newly appointed West Indies cricket captain Brian Lara has denied reports there are divisions in the present team.

The Trinidadian born Lara was answering questions at the launch of the Cable and Wireless West Indies and England Test series at the Pegasus Hotel yesterday.

Lara said there was never a division in the West Indies dressing room.

``It's the media which tried to create this controversy. Everyone is happy and well,'' he said.

Lara also stressed the importance of winning his first Test series as captain.

``A defeat for the West Indies in this series could be a great setback for the Caribbean,'' he said.

As for his form with the bat, Lara said: ``My fitness and preparation over the past few years have not declined. When I started my Test career I made many runs. I need to build my best batting confidence when I get to the middle of the field.

``Everyone goes through a bad patch. I will be more focussed with my batting,'' said the captain.

``I have scored many runs but most of my runs come against England. I enjoy playing against England and I hope I will be able to return to that form,'' he said.

``I will try my best so you can say good things about my batting during this series.''

Lara also spoke about the bitter 3-0 Test defeat in Pakistan late last year.

``Touring Pakistan is always difficult. A lot of positives have come out of that tour and we hope to never to let it happen again,'' he said.

When asked about fast bowler Curtly Ambrose hinting of retirement, Lara said: ``Only Ambrose can decide when he wants to retire. I have already spoken to him and I am sure he will play and give his best. He has something to show the West Indies during this tour.''

England captain Mike Atherton refused to say who he thought would win the series.

``Whichever team starts well could come out with the series,'' Atherton said. ``We are a more experienced team than four years ago when we played the West Indies in the Caribbean.

Source: The Jamaica Gleaner

Contributed by CricInfo Management, and reproduced with permission
Date-stamped : 25 Feb1998 - 18:50