Lara wants to return for England tour

Frankly Speaking
A.J. Fenty
Stabroek News
April 7, 2000

Former West Indies captain Brian Lara expects to resume his cricket career during the upcoming England tour and has firmly reaffirmed his commitment to a more successful career.

According to the Caribbean News Agency (Cana), the world batting star said the June 2 to September 4 tour should be ideal to make his comeback.

"Two months from now when we tour of England, it should be enough (time) for someone like myself to get myself right, physically and mentally," said Lara who is on a break from the game because of stress.

Lara gave up the West Indies captaincy in late February after huge losses -- 2-0 in tests and 5-0 in one-dayers -- in New Zealand, and then withdrew from the Cable and Wireless home series against Zimbabwe.

Lara, who turns 31 years-old next month, played down speculation that he could return for the challenging three-test series, an assignment current captain Jimmy Adams has said the team needs him for.

"I think I am actually ruled out of Pakistan (the series), to my knowledge, so I suppose I would have to look at that England tour and say `yeah I would love to get to England' and start my resurgence there."

Lara, a double world record holder with individual scores of 375 (test) and 501 not out (first-class), said he is enjoying the break from the rigours of cricket and should benefit from it.

"I feel very good and I feel whatever challenges I face, maybe not in the near future, but in a couple of months down the line, that I'll be able to get myself ready for it."

The double world record holder said cricket is his life and, added that he is hurt by statements questioning his devotion to the sport.

"That sort of feedback of not giving your best for West Indies cricket, it does hurt sometimes because I think at the end of the day that's all I have done in my life, play for West Indies and that's what a lot of people know me for," Lara said.

"I am not a great businessman, I am not a great golfer, I think I am a good cricketer, and I think I want to become a great cricketer," said Lara, who contested the Pro-Am section of the European Senior Masters tournament here last week.

The double world batting record holder spoke of his childhood attraction to cricket, which subsequently turned into dedication to the sport.

"From the time you say to your dad at the age of six that you want to become the next Roy Fredericks, you've devoted a lot of your life to cricket," the 30-year-old Lara said, remembering an aspiration he told his father of 24 years ago.

Lara's career has been described as a "roller-coaster" ride of brilliance and world records, amidst off-pitch rows and embarrassing defeats as captain of the West Indies, a -- first ever -- 5-0 loss to South Africa, and 2-0 to little rated New Zealand.

"I try my best for West Indies each and every time I've gone out there, maybe I was not mentally focused all the time or in the way that I should have been, but the main thing is walking down the steps at Kensington Oval or Sabina Park meant that I was committed to being out there, and trying my best for West Indies cricket.

"I would love people to understand that it does not matter what the results are like, anybody that represents the West Indies, represents it whole-heartedly, and wants to do well," Lara said.