Lara quits Windies captaincy

by Orin Davidson
Stabroek News
February 25, 2000

West Indies cricket captain Brian Lara yesterday dropped a bombshell by quitting as captain of the regional team, almost three weeks before the team opposes Zimbabwe in its next international series.

A press release from the West Indies Cricket Board issued last evening stated that Lara asked not to be considered for the captaincy when the Board meets on March 7 to make the appointment.

Lara though, was widely tipped to retain the post even though West Indies were thrashed in both Test and one-day series in New Zealand earlier this year, as no other likely capable candidate has emerged.

In his letter to the Board, Lara explained that the failures of the team influenced his decision to step down.

"After accepting the captaincy at the beginning of the 1998 season I immediately set high but attainable goals for the West Indies team and myself. After two years, the moderate success and devastating failure that has engulfed West Indies cricket has brought me to the realisation that there is a need for me to withdraw from my present position," the Trinidadian explained.

Lara, the double world record batting holder, was groomed to lead West Indies from the junior level and had campaigned for the post prior to his eventual appointment for the series against England in 1998.

"I feel honoured to have been entrusted with the responsibility of leading the West Indies team and sincerely thank the West Indies Cricket Board for the opportunity to serve," Lara added in his letter.

The 30-year-old Lara though did not elaborate on his future as a player or whether he would be available for the season which also includes a series against Pakistan.

However, West Indies Cricket Board president Pat Rousseau is hopeful that the batting star will continue to serve the team. In a statement, Rousseau said his organisation is looking forward to continued service from Lara. " The Board looks forward to Brian's continued contribution as a senior player and outstanding batsman and we wish him even higher levels of success than he has achieved so far is his stellar professional career." Rousseau added," I would really like to thank Brian for his service as captain during a very difficult period in West Indies cricket. I know he has made a very hard decision and I appeal to the public to give him the total support that the WICB will be giving him as he continues his career.

The left hander was in charge of the team which was whitewashed 5-0 by South Africa in the Test series and beaten 6-1 in the one-day internationals in the 1998/99 tour of the continent.

Lara's decision comes in wake of Roger Harper's appointment as West Indies coach ahead of former batting great Sir Vivian Richards.

Lara worked with Richards as interim coach during the New Zealand tour and had expressed his desire in having the former retained.