West Indies, Cricket, and Brian Lara

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  • Bacher rates Lara as `one of the greatest players of all-time’
    May 4, 2007

  • The genius of Brian Lara
    April 29, 2007

  • Lara rates Akram, Warne best bowling opponents
    April 23, 2007

  • I picked myself for England tour: Lara
    April 23, 2007

  • Brian Lara - born to break records
    April 23, 2007

  • Lara's retirement
    April 23, 2007

  • Lara confirms he helped pick squad for England
    April 23, 2007

  • Brian Charles Lara
    April 23, 2007

  • T&T Sports Minister urges Lara to reconsider decision
    April 22, 2007

  • GCB Head among those surprised at Lara's sudden retirement
    April 22, 2007

  • Jamaicans express some surprise over Lara’s retirement
    April 21, 2007

  • Lara to quit international cricket
    April 20, 2007

  • The sun is setting on Lara's career
    December 17, 2006

  • Lara remains number one batsman
    June 15, 2004

  • Lara's 400
    April 26, 2004

  • Ambassador status conferred on Lara
    April 21, 2004

  • Lara prayed to reclaim world record
    April 21, 2004

  • Lara committed to West Indies success
    April 19, 2004

  • Lara in a class by himself
    April 17, 2004

  • Lara named WIPA International Cricketer-of-the-Year
    March 19, 2004

  • Lara leads way in golden era for batsmen
    January 15, 2004

  • Lara reclaims top spot in Test ratings
    January 8, 2004

  • Lara fastest to 9 000 Test runs
    January 5, 2004

  • From a PRINCE to a KING
    January 1, 2004

  • lara: I want to leave telling impact on cricket
    October 26, 2003

  • Lara signs two-year sponsorship deal with C&W
    October 24, 2003

  • `I am beyond individual goals now’
    October 11, 2003

  • Lara finally returns to the top
    July 2, 2003

  • Lara joins group of world-beaters
    May 29, 2003

  • An open letter to the West Indies skipper
    May 17, 2003

  • Greatest cricketing experience - Lara
    May 14, 2003

  • Lara-another Sobers?
    May 10, 2003

  • Brian Lara's second coming
    April 27, 2003

  • Lara’s back, Hooper sacked
    April 1, 2003

  • 'I want West Indies to have best of me' - Brian Lara
    February 12, 2003

  • Enjoyable return by Lara
    January 11, 2003

  • Lara gets permission to play
    January 7, 2003

  • Onus on Lara now
    January 6, 2003

  • The Lara factor
    December 30, 2002

  • Becca calls for dropping of Lara
    December 28, 2002

  • Lara in Windies World Cup 15
    December 28, 2002

  • Lara set to join W.I. training camp
    December 24, 2002

  • Lequay slams Lara
    December 5, 2002

  • Lara could join squad in Bangladesh
    December 3, 2002

  • Lara for further medical tests in London
    November 21, 2002

  • Lara cleared of match-fixing
    November 12, 2002

  • Lara discharged
    September 26, 2002

  • Lara’s illness opens door for Hinds/Samuels
    September 21, 2002

  • Lara’s illness cloaked in mystery
    September 20, 2002

  • Lara out of India tour with mystery illness
    September 20, 2002

  • Lara furious over hepatitis diagnosis
    September 19, 2002

  • Lara hospitalised with suspected hepatitis
    September 18, 2002

  • Lara still haunted by elbow injury
    September 11, 2002

  • Sports Therapist confident Lara will be fit
    March 15, 2002

  • Lara plays down altercation with girlfriend
    December 30, 2001

  • Lara accused of beating girlfriend
    December 29, 2001

  • Lara hit by Asgirya jinx
    December 16, 2001

  • Windies batting disappoints Lara
    December 9, 2001

  • Lara is available for advice
    December 6, 2001

  • Sir Gary's advice working wonders for Lara
    December 3, 2001

  • Lara's hunger for runs returns
    November 28, 2001

  • Lara not interested in leading W.I. again
    October 19, 2001

  • Lara's tour in doubt
    October 17, 2001

  • Can Lara find greatness again?
    October 9, 2001

  • Brian Lara: "Renewed Commitment"
    January 30, 2001

  • Brian Lara: understanding the enigma
    December 17, 2000

  • Lara cannot do it all
    December 17, 2000

  • Lara's best form needed
    November 30, 2000

  • Lara back in groove with teammates
    June 14, 2000

  • Lara back to his brilliant best
    June 11, 2000

  • Harper unruffled by early Lara failure
    June 6, 2000

  • Adams welcomes Lara's return
    May 18, 2000

  • Lara must toe the line

  • Lara wants to return for England tour

  • Golden boy

  • Lara rated number one

  • Lara's problem is not new

  • Lara proves bigger than WICB

  • Will the Prince of West Indian cricket return?

  • Lara plays true to form

  • More musical chairs in West Indies cricket

  • Zimbabwe will relish Lara's withdrawal

  • ACA reaffirms continued confidence in Sir Vivian

  • Adams gets the job

    Is Lara a 4-letter word?
    by Tony Deyal
    Barbados Nation

    My Bajan friend Dave called me excitedly on Carnival Tuesday night. “I just heard on the radio that Brian Lara took poison?” he asked, waiting for confirmation. What he got instead was a baptism in Trinidad Carnival. “Actually,” I said slowly and with a smile, “it was the other way around. Instead of Lara taking poison, poison actually took Lara.”

    After what seemed almost a minute of mystified silence, he managed a request, not altogether polite, for an explanation. I obliged and explicated without demur. “Poison is simply the name of a company or group of people which annually produces a large and spectacular carnival band. Whatever the name given to the band in any particular year, it still maintains the characteristics associated with the Poison nomenclature.

    The band is famous for having celebrities (for the most part) in scanty costumes which display considerable skin, courage and, eventually, sunburn.

    As in previous years, Mr. Lara was one of those celebrities to enjoy the masquerade as a character in Poison. I added that I had not expected Mr. Lara to be in the same band this year as in previous years. Given his record in South Africa, I was expecting to see him and the entire West Indies team in Mr. Minshall’s Lost Tribes. I did not say .that he should have been in Legends but I did not want to get .too complicated.

    Dave did not quite know what to make of my attempt at humour. However, he tried one of his own.I don’t know if a poison would be appropriate in such circumstances,” he said drily.

    I told Dave that it was not a nice remark to make and he might end up having to apologise like the man who, on his deathbed, confessed to his partner Jeremy that he had embezzled all the firm’s money, sold .its secrets to its competitors .and fired the receptionist because she was in love with Jeremy. “That”s all right,” said Jeremy softly, “I’m the one who poisoned you.”

    After a perfunctory laugh, Dave continued with the cricket and the need for a new captain. “Lara does not seem to have cricket on his mind any more. He seems to be preoccupied with other things,” he complained.

    I thought of the line about cricketers being good lovers – they’re fast between the covers and don’t go in without protection – and discarded it. I gave him the bright side. “Think of it,” I said. “Here we are in a sensational position. No losses, no ties, not a run scored against us. .Of course the tour doesn’t start until next week but given .what happened in South Africa, we are doing very well.” He was not amused.

    I told him that cricket was not everything and that it has been described as a game which the British, not being a spiritual people, had to invent in order to have some concept of eternity. He did not respond.

    I told him the joke about Malcolm Donald apologising to the West Indies team manager, Clive Lloyd for hitting Lara with a bouncer. “I’m terribly sorry about what happened to your captain. I feel very bad about it,” said the bowler.

    “Oh, don’t worry about it,” Lloyd says. “I’ve been wanting to do that for years.”

    In fact, when the president of the West Indies Cricket Selectors rang South Africa asking for Lara he was told by Lloyd that Lara had just walked onto the crease and was about to bat. “Shall I ask him to ring you back?” Lloyd asked. “No. I’ll hang on,” the chairman said.

    That was even less appreciated and eventually Dave hung up, getting neither the consolation nor renewed confidence in West Indies cricket that he would have liked. Perhaps we expect too much, I thought.

    There was a little boy with his grandfather playing on Bathsheba Beach in Barbados when a sudden wave came and swept the boy out to sea.

    The grandfather panicked. He started crying and then began to pray, begging the Lord to bring back his grandson. “Dear God,” he prayed between tears, “please bring him back. I will do .anything. I will go to church every day. I will give a tenth of my income to the church. Anything you want, Lord, just bring him back.”

    Suddenly a wave washed in to the shore and deposited the boy on the beach, dry and safe. The grandfather looked at the little boy overwhelmed with happiness. Suddenly he looked at the boy again, then up and the sky and then said, “Lord, he was wearing a cap!”

    • Tony Deyal was last seen telling the story of a little boy who confided to his mother that when he grew up he wanted to be like Brian Lara. Unfortunately, the boy began to cry when his mother said, “You can’t do both at the same time.”

    • Editor’s Note: This column was run exactly one year ago. Tony asked us to repeat it because he wonders if anything has changed.

    Lara’s buck stops here
    by Adonijah
    Barbados Nation

    THIS COLUMN is probably going to cost me some “friends”.

    Be that as it may, or as my Trini friends would say, irregardless, a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do.

    I have a problem, and a big problem, too, with the Prince of Port-of-Spain, Brian Lara.

    His decision to step down from the captaincy was a bit of a shock, since he has often behaved as though the position was his by divine right.

    The real shocker came a week later when he announced that he would be taking a “short break” from the game altogether. So far he has not bothered to tell us just how long this “short break” will be.

    Now let me make it clear – I understand stress. I cannot know what it feels like to be Brian Lara, however, with millions depending on you. It cannot be easy knowing how you perform will determine whether .millions of people will go to bed happy or miserable.

    Don’t fool yourself. When the West Indies are on top I don’t even bother when a ZR van jumps lanes and cuts me out at the traffic lights. Try that when we are 40 for 5 or something like that and you get my full Marley Vale/Merricks/Robinson’s Land vocabulary, for real.

    So Lara’s surely .must be an awesome responsibility.

    That responsibility, however, is the other side of the coin which has .provided him with the lifestyle of the rich and famous. And it really is true – to whom much is given, much is expected.

    Let us look at the facts so far, in sequence:

    l Lara steps down from the captaincy.

    l WICB president Pat Rousseau says the former skipper has given the assurance that he will go to the training camp in Jamaica and play against Zimbabwe and Pakistan.

    l The Trinidad Guardian announces that Lara will miss the camp and that he has a big fete planned for his house on Carnival Sunday. Questions are raised about his playing in the upcoming series.

    l Later that day, Lara pulls out of the team .altogether, saying he has made the decision after consultation with Dr. Rudi Webster. Webster confirms the talks but says they never discussed Lara’s taking a break.

    l Rousseau asks for understanding of Lara’s position.

    l The formation of the LAY management group is announced. It is headed by Lara and his buddy Dwight Yorke and is set to be launched at Lara’s fete.

    The picture that emerges here is that of a man who knows just what he is doing , which is .looking out for No.1.

    There is, of course, nothing wrong with that, but must it be at the total expense of the cause so dear to the thousands in the region who have .supported him in a very tangible way?

    Lara clearly knows, as do all of us, that he is the only world-class batsman we have right now. Despite his erratic performances, he is the one West Indian player that opposing teams fear.

    One suspects that he feels let down by the failure to appoint Sir Vivian Richards as coach, since he had publicly expressed his support for the Master Blaster but is this the way to react?

    Protestations by his loyal countrymen that the fete had been organised a long time ago are hollow since the international itinerary is known quite some time in advance. .The possibility of a .training camp was by no means remote.

    My problem is that I keep remembering Garry Sobers batting with a .septic finger and scoring a century, Wes Hall and Charlie Griffith bowling for a day at Lord’s and Lance Gibbs twirling .those off-breaks until .his spinning finger dripped blood.

    What those men all .had was something .called commitment, an understanding of what the game means to us and an understanding of what it meant to represent the West Indies. And those brothers worked for spit compared with what Lara rakes in now.

    A colleague of mine brought to my attention an interesting statistic. Lara has scored 13 Test .hundreds in 63 Tests.

    He has five hundreds against England and five against Australia, in 34 matches against the .two teams.

    In the other 29 Tests, against Sri Lanka, .India, New Zealand, .South Africa and Pakistan, he has scored three .hundreds.

    Is it mere coincidence that the countries against which he has had the best record are the same ones in which he earns the .most money in terms .of endorsement and appearance fees?

    It leaves a bad taste in the mouth, yes, but no worse that that we .have now that he has abandoned the team in order to pursue what appears to be a new career in show promotion.

    What next?

    Will he be producing the next Spektakula?

    Stay tuned.

    Lara wants to become best West Indies batsman ever
    ... says Dr. Rudy Webster
    March 8, 2000

    KINGSTON, Jamaica, (CANA) - West Indies performance consultant Dr Rudi Webster is urging the Caribbean public to be patient with star batsman Brian Lara who has temporarily withdrawn from international cricket.

    "I think we have to support Brian Lara at this stage. He has indicated that he wants to have a break from the game for a while because of the tremendous stress and pressure that he has been under," Dr Webster said on the CANA SPORT radio programme yesterday.

    Lara, who led the West Indies during their crushing series losses - 2-0 in the Tests and 5-0 in the one-dayers - against little-rated New Zealand earlier this year, gave up the West Indies captaincy last month, and a week later announced he is taking a break from international cricket.

    Dr Webster believes the 30-year-old double world batting record holder in Test (375) and first class (501) cricket should be given space to mentally refocus before he resumes his career.

    "He has indicated in his letter of resignation from the captaincy that he will seek professional help, let us step back from the scene and allow him to do that."

    "What he has indicated to me is that he wants to return to West Indies cricket after a break - after he has refreshed his batteries - and become the best West Indies batsman ever, that is one of his goals.

    "Secondly, he is very keen to establish cooperative and harmonious relationships with all the stake holders in West Indies cricket, the board, the players, the press, the public, and these are his two main objectives at the moment.

    "I think we should just give him some time, let him sort out the problems that he has and give him a chance to come back to the game, and then assess him after," Dr Webster told CANA.

    Lara en got nuh shame?
    March 8, 2000
    Barbados Nation

    Dear Nesta,
    B’looka Brian Lara, doh, neh! Dat man got .gall, but ‘e really en got nuh shame.

    Nuh joke, Ness, I en know wuh kin’ o’ responsibility he could got to lef’ de West Indies team high an’ dry fuh wuh he describe as “personal reasons”.

    Personal reasons, my foot! Dat man been doin’ as he like fuh de longes-time, thumbin’, ‘e nose at cricket officialdom, showin’ dem he doin’ wuhever he want to do whenever he want to do um!

    Don’ fuhget how ‘e suddenly announce at de elevenf hour dat ‘e decide not to go ‘pon dah Orstralian tour few years ago . . ., an’ remember wuh happen up in Engelant when ‘e practically lef’ de team mid-tour?

    An’ as fuh dah disgrace las’ year (or year befo’) when he, as captain, get wid de res’ o’ de team ‘pon de way to Souf Africa an’ hol’ de WICB up to ransom! Dah was shameful, regards to wuh de money-turks ‘bout hey did say.

    Lara head too big, dah is he problem. ‘E shoulda never did get de captaincy, dah is de firs’ t’ing . . . an ‘e prove dat ‘e din deserve it. I sure my boy Jimmy Adams – aldoh ‘e en battin’ so good lately – gine show ‘e de responsibility an’ strengf o’ character a captain should show.

    But I had a min’ dat Lara was gine lef’ de team in de lurch after ‘e resign as captain, aldoh I tell Babsie ‘e woulda lef’ dem after de Zimbabwe tour, not befo’.

    Anyhow, ef, he preffer to play mas’ an’ jump fuh carnival ‘stead o’ bein’ at cricket camp, dah should tell all ‘e fans wuh kin’ o’ body he is. I only hope de WICB don’ tek e’ back in de team ef ‘e decide he ready to float back in later on.

    Tummuch people does be ready to fin’ tummuch excuses fuh he, dah is why ‘e does .get-on like a spile-chile. ‘E may be a outstandin’ worl’-class batsman but ‘e’s a arrogant, irresponsible fella dat jes’ too big fuh ‘e boots. To hell wid he, do!

    ‘Pon a nex’ subjeck, de big-up traffic policemen really announce exackly wuh I did say every-sence – dat de jam-buster is bare boo! But I glad duh come to dah conclusion even doh um is after all de confusion it does cause at de roundabouts.

    I did always say, dat whoever did dream-up de idea o’ dis jambuster shoulda start dreamin’ agen ‘cause I always know it did gine twin out to be a nightmare.

    Anyhow, girl-chile, me an’ you gine ketch up agen, please God. Keep good an’ God bless.

    – Wif luv, Lou.

    Lara everybody’s scapegoat
    BY John Blackman
    Barbados Nation

    Brian Lara was right in giving up the captaincy of the West Indies. Three years ago, I was one of those who campaigned for his captaincy. However, after reasonable performances against England and Australia in the home series, West Indies suffered excruciating defeats against both in South Africa and New Zealand.

    As captain he must accept some of the responsibilty for the poor performances of his team. Nevertheless, I am proud that he never questioned the decisions of the umpires, even on behalf of himself as on the occasion when he was given out caught behind to a ball he never touched in the second Test in New Zealand.

    I nonetheless cling to the belief that it was the sacking of Sir Viv as coach, rather than the poor performances of his team, which finally tilted the scale in favour of his resignation. He had publicly thrown his support behind Viv, and might have interpreted the board’s decision as a vote of no-confidence against him.

    Sir Viv with his arrogance and imperiousness, was the ideal candidate for this position at a time when our cricket has reached its nadir. The present players seem to lack pride and resilience, and take the game too casually. They just roll over and capitulate with out a fight. Where is that combative element which characterised our teams of the ’70’s and ’80’s? [The Collis Kings, the Andy Roberts, the Jeff Dujons, and the Colin Crofts].

    Do the present players truly appreciate the sociological impact of cricket on the peoples of the Caribbean?

    Lara’s departure has created a void since there are no obvious successors for the captaincy. In fact, if we omit the two who will soon qualify for National Insurance benefits (Ambrose and Walsh), there are only two West Indians left who are up to Test and international standard – Lara himself, and Steve Bucknor. For obvious reasons, we must eliminate the latter.

    I would suggest that Walsh be given the job at this time and allow him to depart the sporting scene on a high; both as captain and the world’s leading wicket taker. He epitomizes the true West Indian spirit and has given more to us than any other player. [Not many fast bowlers have given their country 16 years service].

    Of course, no one would think so if one judges by the treatment meted out to him by the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) when Lara was made captain. But then that seems to be the modus operandi of the WICB. The late Malcolm Marshall, Desmond Haynes, Gordon Greenidge, and other past stalwarts, including more recently Sir Viv, would all concur.

    Wicketkeeper Ridley Jacobs has shown a matured and level-headed approach to the game and I would name him vice-captain to Courtney.

    His location immediately behind the batsman places him in the most strategic position of the field to detect weaknesses in the opposing batsmen, and advise the bowlers accordingly. He would eventually take over when Walsh sets the new record and retires.

    It seems clear to me that our team will win a Test match only when Brian Lara scores heavily. This was lamentably confirmed last year against Australia when he almost single-handedly won back-to-back Tests in Jamaica and Barbados with scores of 213 and 153 not out. He even scored an even 100 in the final Test in Antigua. But the rest of the team did not take the cue, and West Indies lost the match and tied the series.

    A team with Greenidge, Haynes, Richardson, Sir Viv, Gomes, Dujon, Marshall, Holding, Roberts and Garner will be a winning one if it is captained by Andrew Mason, Tony Cozier, Reds Perreira or even Miss Donna Symmonds. On the contrary give the present team to Sir Garry, Lloyd, Sir Viv, or even the late Sir Frank Worrell and it will still be losing.

    Mr. Lionel Craig, moderator of CBC’s Guttaperk, dolefully portrayed the abject poverty of West Indies cricket last Monday, February 21. He named an 11 which, according to him, “Would do no worse that the present team”. His team was Greenidge, Haynes, Sir Everton, Sir Clyde, Sir Viv, Sir Garry, Jeff Dujon, Hall, Croft, Griffith and Gibbs. Both Sir Everton and Sir Clyde are in their 70s, and the youngest member of this team is Dujon, 43.

    When we contrast the ages of these players with that of Courtney Walsh 36, the oldest of the players which toured New Zealand, the true predicament of our cricket is underscored.

    But despite the above known facts, Brian Lara continues to be the target of more than his fair share of criticism. I was always of the opinion that a cricket team consisted of 11 players. Apparently, this is not so for the West Indies which has only one player – Brian Lara. When the batsmen fail to bat, it’s Lara, when the bowlers persist with short-pitch balls to the exclusion of line and length, it’s Lara. Even when a fielder drops a catch, it’s Lara.

    He is our greatest batsman, yet some of us keep pulling him down.

    One caller on a radio programme claimed he made his 375 Test record against schoolboys. Another stated that if his two highest scores were taken away, it would lower his average considerably. Even my good friend Andrew Mason keeps asking the question on CBC’s Best & Mason: Is Lara really a great batsman?

    However, when all is said and done, when we siphon off our personal extraneous idiosyncracies, and allow hard core cricket facts to settle, we are left with what really matters in batting –runs and average. Here Lara is home quite safe and sound occupying the No. 6 position for all West Indian batsmen.

    All Hail Prince Lara ! Now you are no longer encumbered with the responsibilities of the captaincy, your loyal subjects are eagerly looking forward to a chain of centuries from your willow.

    Editor’s Note: This article was submitted before the appointment of Jimmy Adams as captain and before Lara informed the WICB of his unavailability for the upcoming Test series.

    • John Blackman is retired principal of Deighton Griffith Secondary School.

    Lara, Yorke to push players

    PORT-OF-SPAIN – Controversial former West Indies captain Brian Lara is preparing a path for a career outside of cricket, says the Weekend Independent newspaper. Lara, who in the past sponsored the Schools Secondary League in Trinidad and Tobago, has decided to again put his time and emphasis behind the promotion of young talent.

    The report added that Manchester United’s striker Dwight Yorke is also looking towards his future outside of football.

    Last week, York was quoted as saying that he will probably not represent Trinidad and Tobago again without Bertille St. Clair as coach.

    The paper reported that Lara has formed a company with his close friend Yorke, which will look after the establishment and promotion of young sportsmen in the region.

    It is expected that the company which is called LAY Management, with the LAY standing for Lara and Yorke, will also establish connections in Jamaica and Barbados initially.

    “This is an idea that has been in the works for over two years; and based on all that has been going on recently, it was decided that now was the time to act, as both players want to give back to the people of the region, from what they have received,” the paper quoted a source in Barbados as saying.

    The Independent also reported that Lara and Yorke want to ensure the company is not merely perceived as a money-making venture.

    Not only will they be trying to obtain overseas trials and eventually contracts for players, but they will be giving proceeds from any contracts to charities.

    The paper said the company will be launched on Carnival Sunday in the presence of the founders’ mothers, with a portion of the proceeds from the launching party going towards charity.

    “This is not about money, it is about Lara being who he is, and not having to be concerned with the remarks so easily made in the Press about his personal life,” said the source.

    “He wants to contribute, and so too Yorke, but both players want to do it in an organised way.

    “The people in West Indies cricket have to understand that Brian has a life outside of cricket and he wants to demonstrate that he can be positive and proactive, it is time for him to step forward and take his place,” he remarked.

    Late Thursday, Lara announced he was taking a short break from international cricket after earlier giving up the West Indies captaincy. (CANA)

    Carnival over cricket, Mr. Lara?
    March-04-2000 EDITORIAL
    Barbados Nation

    JUST when we thought it couldn’t get any worse for West Indies cricket, it did. On Thursday night former West Indies cricket captain Brian Lara satisfied his detractors, and disappointed his many fans when he dropped his second bombshell for the week and walked away from cricket – for a short period.

    Last week he announced he was stepping down as captain of the team.

    In a statement to the Press, Lara said: “I have come to the conclusion that it is essential for personal reasons that I take a break from cricket for a short period with immediate effect.”

    The cricketer, called the greatest batsman in modern times, said he would use the time away from the game to seek the assistance of appropriate professionals to rebuild all facets “of my game so as to sustain the remainder of my cricketing career”.

    It’s another huge blow for West Indies cricket, first grappling to name a captain, and now left without its best batsman.

    While Lara says he wants a break to get himself together, however, some feel differently.

    Some feel it may have something to do with fever. Carnival fever.

    He was due to be in Jamaica yesterday for a cricket camp which begins today.

    But a report in the Trinidad Guardian on Thursday stated that the camp starts the day before the former West Indies captain hosts an all-inclusive fete at his home on Chancellor Hill.

    According to reports artistes have been booked to perform, tickets printed, people invited and caterers organised.

    In addition, Lara is expecting quite a number of overseas guests.

    The article also claimed that Lara had asked the board to release him from the camp until Wednesday.

    It is said that nothing can come between a Trinidadian and his carnival.

    Should we dare believe that Mr. Lara is living testimony to that?

    Should we dare believe that when it came down to the wire and Mr. Lara had to make a choice, he chose carnival?

    Should we dare believe that carnival won out over cricket? Or should we believe like some people say, that Mr. Lara is simply being himself – a spoilt brat?

    Which is it, Mr. Lara?

    ‘Not cricket’

    Barbados Nation

    “To stop like this shows how he feels about West Indies cricket.”

    That’s the view of outspoken cricket analyst Franklyn Stephenson following Brian Lara’s decision to take a break from cricket.

    “It shows what respect he has for the feelings of the people in the region,” Stephenson said.

    Lara’s announcement came a day before he was to fly to Jamaica for a training camp ahead of the West Indies’ home series against Zimbabwe.

    “I don’t want anybody out there saying he is just human,” Stephenson remarked.

    “You are playing sport and who wouldn’t want to play international sport for a living?”

    In announcing his decision late Thursday, Lara said it was essential for personal reasons that he took a break.

    His announcement came exactly a week after he asked not to be considered for the captaincy and a few days after giving West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) officials the assurance that he would be available to play against Zimbabwe.

    Stephenson, a former Barbados all-rounder and experienced professional who played first-class cricket in England, South Africa and Australia, was surprised by Lara’s latest decision.

    “I expected the sheer pride somewhere in there would have been saying that he is going to come out and show the people what he is made of,” he said.

    “What Brian Lara is saying he is made of I don’t think anybody in the region wants to hear. Don’t tell me that you are home for a month or two after a tour and you need rest, rest from what?”

    Stephenson also dismissed the suggestion that Lara was under stress.

    “Do not give me that nonsense,” he said.

    “When you are out there to perform, it is a stressful situation, but it is what you make it.

    “If you are good, you would absorb all of that and you perform. That is what batting is all about. That’s what being good at sport is all about.”

    The latest series of events has led Stephenson to conclude that Lara was never the right man for the job of captain.

    The WICB should also take some blame, Stephenson said.

    “The board should really take stock. They have failed and they have got to start soul-searching.

    “They are to blame for a lot that has been happening in regional cricket.”

    Rest well, Brian
    March 4, 2000
    Internet Express

    PUBLIC sympathy for Brian Lara is still high. But is he exceeding his claim on our loyalty? Who could forget the affection that flowed like honey for this young man when he broke the world record in 1994.

    One of our very own had stunned the world. We had seen him grow up as a schoolboy cricketer to rising star-and now to troubled media object.

    Brian Lara is clearly a man with thunder clouds circling his head.

    Maybe the expectations were too high. He himself remained cool as the nation adored him, warning that one day he would fail, that he wasn't perfect.

    Maybe we all should be annoyed with ourselves for not listening closely enough and being mad with success, we did not want to see the dangers in pushing the batsman beyond his maturity.

    We covered our ears when he said a few years ago, "Cricket is ruining my life.''

    Lara has disappointed cricket lovers. The region feels deserted.

    His turning down the captaincy is one thing. His dropping out of playing in the coming Tests is another.

    It was Viv Richards who said once "You take Brian Lara from West Indies cricket and what do we have?''

    Lara says he is taking a break from cricket.

    Certainly, he was losing enthusiasm for the game. However hard a sportsman trains and works, at some level, what he does must bring him satisfaction, a sense of fulfilment. There must be some moment of celebration, of joy in the sheer stroke of the bat that makes his heart sing.

    Otherwise, it's just a sweaty, unpleasant job.

    So, yes, Lara must take a rest to recapture his joy.

    It is true that the timing of his announcement raises cause for concern. People suspect his motives, seeing selfishness rather than sportsmanship.

    It is easy to believe he has quit because he is more interested in Carnival than cricket commitments. Maybe Lara felt targeted unfairly by the West Indies Cricket Board and believing the cricket camp was directed at him as a punishment, he rejected these attempts to chasten him.

    Up to the time of the New Zealand tour he was still talking like a man who believed he was part of something larger than himself. He said he was trying to "salvage a legacy''.

    The clash between Carnival and the camp had something to do with his decision to stay away but Brian Lara is a more complex study than that.

    He was never really prepared for the rigours of captaincy. Instead of wise counsel, he had naked adoration heaped upon him.

    He was celebrated for individual achievement without truly appreciating the value of the team. When anyone was mildly critical of him, his fans and supporters flew to his defence, turning rabidly on the few who dared to question.

    Lara came to the post highly recommended but talent without discipline leads to failure.

    Lara needs this rest. But he will not recover his form and joy until he looks hard at the man in the mirror. He is not above rebuke but neither is he deserving of scorn.

    And the rest of us?

    We refused to listen to him once. Let's listen harder this time. All we can do is wish him well while letting him know that the team always comes before the individual. Adams gets the job
    Jamaica Gleaner

    JAMAICA'S JIMMY ADAMS was yesterday appointed captain of the West Indies team for the upcoming home series against Zimbabwe and Pakistan.

    Adams, 32, who recently led Jamaica to the Busta Cup championship, replaces Brian Lara, who said on Thursday he was taking a break from international cricket after resigning as captain last week.

    Lara quit after the disastrous tour of New Zealand in which West Indies lost both Tests and all five one-day internationals.

    Adams was vice-captain in New Zealand, the 1999 home series against Australia and last year's World Cup in England before his promotion by the West Indies Board of Control.

    In a radio interview Adams said he was happy and honoured to be given the job.

    "I heard some names being bandied around, but I just remained composed and when I heard that I was the person, I immediately told myself I must get the guys to play to their full potential and that will bring about good results," Adams said.

    He added it was unfortunate Lara has taken a break from cricket but his players must look beyond that even though he will be sadly missed.

    "Brian has made his decision already and we wish him well, but we must stay focused, look at the job at hand and get on with it."

    Adams' appointment has been greeted with glee by members of the local board. President Jackie Hendriks said he was delighted that 'Jimmy' has been appointed as the new West Indies captain.

    "I am happy because I know that he is a real fighter...someone who never gives up. I believe that he will carry over the same sort of dedication and commitment that he showed in the Busta Cup to the West Indies team and that can only benefit West Indies cricket," the former Test wicketkeeper said.

    Second vice-president George Sterling said he was not surprised by the appointment.

    "I think that Adams has the capacity and the proper attitude to do well, as was demonstrated in his handling of the team in the recent Busta Cup competition," Mr. Sterling said.

    Apart from his prowess as a left-handed batsman, Adams is a useful left-arm orthodox spin bowler and capable wicket-keeper.

    He made his Test debut in the one-off Test against South Africa in Barbados in 1992.

    Before that, he initially appeared in the first-class game as a 17-year-old against Barbados in 1985. He represented the West Indies youth team in the 1988 Youth World Cup in Australia.

    Born January 9, 1968 in Port Maria, St. Mary, Adams has played 48 Tests and 104 one-day internationals. He led the West Indies in the last three matches of the seven-match limited-overs series against Australia in the Caribbean last year when Lara was sidelined with a wrist injury.

    He has recorded five centuries and a total of 2,326 Test runs at a commendable average of 45.60. His highest score was an unbeaten 208 against New Zealand in Antigua in 1996.

    An occasional bowler, Adams has taken 19 wickets at 44.47 apiece with a best haul of five for 17 in the 1996 home series against New Zealand when he was named man-of-the-series.

    He has scored 1,797 runs in limited-overs cricket at an average of 30.45 with a highest score of 82 and taken 32 wickets at an average of 35.87.

    The opening Test between West Indies and Zimbabwe starts in Port of Spain, Trinidad, on March 16.

    Lara takes a break
    March 4, 2000

    BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, CANA: FORMER WEST Indies cricket captain Brian Lara last night announced he was taking a break from the game, "with immediate effect".

    Lara described the break as a short one, but it appeared to rule him out of action for part or all of Zimbabwe's tour of the Caribbean, opening on Saturday, as well as the subsequent series against Pakistan, who will arrive in the Caribbean at the beginning of April.

    Lara last month announced his surprise decision to step down as captain, six weeks after West Indies returned from a disastrous tour of New Zealand where the former world-beaters lost the Test series 2-0 as well as all five one-day internationals.

    He said then, "After two years, the moderate success and devastating failure that has engulfed West Indies cricket have brought me to the realisation that there is a need for me to withdraw from my present leadership position."

    Observer 4 The people react to Lara's decision to step down
    March 4, 2000
    Jamaican Observer

    Editor's Note: Observer reporter Hurbun Williams took to the streets yesterday to get reactions from members of the public to the decision from former West Indies captain Brian Lara to take a break from cricket. Their views are printed below.

    Keisha Dawkins: It is not surprising that Brain Lara has taken a break from the game. The break will allow all the cricket pundits to look at the real problem of West Indies cricket instead of saddling Lara with it failures. West Indies has failed because the players around Brian Lara are so poor. Even those who perform at times to say the least are mediocre. Neither Chanderpaul, Jimmy Adams nor Sherwin Campbell who have made valuable contributions to the game could be considered top­class batsmen. Look at the bowling for instance. The two main strike bowlers their ages combined are over 70 years. Yet we blame Brian Lara for the failure of West Indies cricket by comparing him with other great West Indian batsmen who had quality batsmen and bowlers to make the team wholesome and effective. Despite the criticism of Lara and his captaincy he has a batting average somewhere in the early fifties. To my mind he has not failed. The people around his have failed to give him the support necessary for success. His withdrawal for the moment will be missed, but this should help to point us in the direction where the true problem lies in West Indies cricket at present.

    Hurbert Treasure: I think Lara was under great pressure. One can understand if I were in his shoes I might have done the same. He is a great player and will be missed. I hope he never leaves the cricket teams and stay close enough to rally around them.

    Gydel Young: Everybody has been blaming Brian Lara for the demise of the team and I know he is not the problem. So I am glad that he is taking a break so that we can clearly see that the West Indies team needs rebuilding and Lara is not the problem.

    James Palmer: I am not surprised. I do not think he wanted to work under Jimmy Adams. He did not want to work under anybody but Brian Lara. I also think his withdrawal will strengthen the team. For the first time in a long while we could see some commitment from the players to play cricket and to show that West Indies was before Brian Lara and shall be way way beyond Brian Lara.

    Suresh Kiswani: He seemed not being able to match his wits and skill with his physical attributes, but I do not see why he has to take a complete break from the game at this time. But again it depends on how the other players look up to him as a leader and how he in turn carry out his duties as leader. His withdrawal now may help to assess more closely his real influence on the team as a whole and where the weakness of the cricketing structure really lies.

    Derron Dixon: His absence especially in the batting area will be missed. His captaincy has been under pressure for some time now but West Indies will miss him in the batting for sure. It is an unfortunate thing that he has decided not to play. Once he had decided to give up the captaincy is one thing but when he decided not to make himself available. The reasons he has given are his own but one will think that given the whole balance and make up of the team and his own performance could have done better by remaining with the team.

    Warren Folkes: I truly believe that he did not get the support necessary for him to be successful. But he may have brought this on himself with the way he went about getting the captaincy. To be successful at anything you need the support of the people around you. He seemingly did not get that and pressure was reaching him forcing him not to give one hundred per cent in either his batting or his gifts as a cricket tactician. His presence on the field in a West Indies Test match or one-day International will be missed.

    3rd Lara out!
    Says he's taking a short break from cricket

    BRIAN Lara, having stepped down a week ago as West Indies cricket captain, last night pulled out of a team for Zimbabwe's tour of the Caribbean, saying that he was taking a break from the game "for a short period".

    Lara's surprise announcement came less than 24 hours ahead of the expected appointment today of Jamaican Jimmy Adams as his successor, and the start of a one-week camp in Kingston by a 20-member squad for the Zimbabwe tour.

    But it appeared that it was for health reasons, perhaps fatigue and stress, rather than pique, that Lara decided to take the break from the game.

    "I have come to the conclusion that it is essential, for personal reasons, that I take a break from cricket for a short period with immediate effect," Lara said. "During this time I intend, with the assistance of appropriate professionals, to rebuild all facets of my game so as to sustain the remainder of my cricketing career."

    Lara had two stormy years as West Indies captain, a job he fought hard to get but left in humiliation.

    "After two years, the moderate success and devastating failure that has engulfed West Indies cricket, has brought me to the realisation that there is need for me to withdraw from my present leadership position," Lara said in a letter to the West Indies Cricket Board at the time of his withdrawal as captain.

    In his tenure as the official captain, Lara led the West Indies in 17 Tests, won five, lost 10 and drew one. One Test was abandoned. The West Indies' record was worse in one-day internationals, but the team's greatest humiliation came during last year's tour of South Africa when they were beaten 5-0 in the Tests and 6-1 in the limited over matches.

    The West Indies was shamed again by lowly New Zealand in their recent tour of that country, losing both Test matches and 5-0 in the one-day internationals.

    Lara had already angered regional cricket fans for his perceived indiscipline and the manner in which he went after the captaincy; and the performance of an admitedly weak team, devoid of the outstanding talent of the 1970s and 1980s, only added to his problems, apparently affecting his health.

    In last night's statement, Lara said he had come to the decision about taking the break from the game after several discussions with sports psychologist, Barbadian Dr Rudi Webster and with West Indies Cricket Board president, Pat Rousseau. In his latest visit with Webster on Wednesday, Lara said: "I shared my concerns about my cricket future".

    "I regret any disappointment that my decision will cause West Indies cricket fans, but I ask for patience," Lara said in his statement.

    Last night, Rousseau, as he had done when Lara stepped down from the captaincy, echoed the cricketer's appeal for time and personal space within which to sort out his problems.

    "It is much too early to respond (to all the issues) as I am not availed of all the facts," Rousseau told the Weekend Observer. "But based on what is said in the release that he wants to get professional help, I sincerely hope that people around the world, and especially in the Caribbean, will leave him alone to deal with his personal life."

    However, from the stand-point of the West Indies team, with its decidedly suspect batting talent, the loss of Lara's genius will be a severe blow.

    For despite his poor form on the recent tour of New Zealand, his capacity for brilliance makes him feared by teams around the world.

    Indeed, his statistics alone would cause bowlers to blush on contemplating Lara's appearance at the crease.

    With more than 5,000 Test runs, he has an average of 51.60, including 13 centuries and a world record Test score of 375. He also holds the world record score in first-class cricket of 501.

    An example of Lara's batting genius was his 213 against the Australians at Sabina Park two years ago. The butt of criticisms after the West Indies had lost the first Test in Trinidad, having been routed for a mere 51 in the first innings, Lara came to the crease with the West Indies two wickets down with only five runs on the board.

    He batted with authority and skill to produce what many experts consider to be one of the great Test innings of all time, putting the West Indies in a position to win the match.

    His most enduring partner during that innings was his likely successor as captain, Adams, who made 94.

    Lara’s out
    March 3, 2000
    Barbados Nation

    MASTER batsman Brian Lara has dropped another bombshell on West Indies’ cricket. Lara, who only last week asked not to be considered for the captaincy for the forthcoming home series involving Zimbabwe and Pakistan, announced last night that he was taking a break from cricket.

    In a Press statement Lara said he was taking a break from the game for “a short period with immediate effect”.

    The enigmatic Trinidadian did not say how long that break would last but with the opening Test against Zimbabwe starting in two weeks, it is certain he will not be facing Andy Flower’s men.

    Lara came to his latest decision after meeting with new performance consultant Dr. Rudi Webster in Grenada on Wednesday.

    “I had several discussions with Dr. Rudi Webster prior to my resignation as captain of the West Indies team and further discussion more recently with the president of the WICB, Pat Rousseau and a visit to Dr. Webster Wednesday in which I shared concerns about my cricketing future.

    “I have come to the conclusion that it is essential for personal reasons that I take a break from cricket for a short period with immediate effect,” he said.

    Reacting to the news, Dr. Webster said he was “not entirely surprised” by the world recordholder’s decision though they did not discuss his taking a break.

    “We’ve got to look at this in a positive light. If he was injured we’d have to carry on and get the best out of what we have available to us.”

    Only a few days ago, Rousseau gave the assurance that Lara would be available for the one-week mandatory training camp beginning in Jamaica tomorrow and ending March 12.

    Lara said he would use the time away from the game to seek the assistance of appropriate professionals to rebuild all facets “of my game so as to sustain the remainder of my cricketing career”.

    “I regret any disappointment that my decision will cause West Indies cricket fans, but ask for your patience. I would also like to thank the West Indies Cricket Board for their support at this difficult time,” he said.

    Yesterday a report in the Trinidadian Guardian said Lara would be jumping for Carnival next week.

    “Former West Indies cricket captain Brian Lara will be taking his place in the Carnival band Poison on Carnival Monday and Tuesday and not the seven-day camp organised by the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) which starts in Jamaica on Saturday (tomorrow),” it stated.

    The Guardian noted the camp starts the day before the former West Indies captain hosts an all-inclusive fete at his home on Chancellor Hill on Carnival Sunday.

    According to reports, the fete will feature Machel Montano and Xtatik, Ronnie McIntosh, the Grenadian Talpree and Barbados’ Alison Hinds.

    The article indicated the fete was organised long before the WICB’s decision to invite Lara and 19 other players to the camp.

    The players have been told by the WICB that they should be in Jamaica today and only those who attend the camp will be eligible for selection on the team for the first Test which starts at the Queen’s Park Oval on March 16.

    The Guardian added: “It would be callous of the board to expect that after all that he has done to promote his Sunday event – book artistes to perform, print tickets and invite people, organise caterers, etc – that he would simply cancel everything to take part in the camp.

    “In addition, he (Lara) would be expecting quite a number of overseas guests...at this time.”

    The Guardian claimed Lara had asked the board to release him from the camp until Wednesday when he was prepared to join the team.