Windies capable of reaching 1970s and 1980s glory days
says skipper Brian Lara
Guyana Chronicle
July 6, 2003

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MADRAS, India, (Reuters) - West Indies captain Brian Lara believes his young players are capable of reaching the levels achieved by the Caribbean side during their glory days in the 1970s and 1980s.

``Our players certainly have the talent and are willing to learn fast,'' Lara told reporters yesterday. ``But it will still take us a lot of time to get back to the top.''

West Indies, struggling to arrest their slump in recent years, were hammered 3-1 at home by Australia earlier this year, but managed to pull off a remarkable victory by three wickets in the fourth and final Test.

Lara's team made the highest-ever fourth innings winning total -- 418 for seven -- to avoid an unprecedented home whitewash.

West Indies went on to beat Sri Lanka 1-0 at home in a two-Test series last week.

``Our confidence is not borne just out of the win against Sri Lanka, but the way we won that final Test against Australia,'' Lara said.

He added that the fast-maturing West Indies team would be in a good position to consolidate their revival when they tour Zimbabwe and South Africa later this year.

``We have the two series coming up and we will have the opportunity to win if we maintain our present form,'' he said.

West Indies suffered a 5-0 series whitewash in South Africa four years ago under Lara, who recently said he was keen to wipe out the bitter memory of one of the lowest points of his first stint as captain.

West Indies have been boosted in the last two seasons by the consistency of young batsmen such as Ramnaresh Sarwan, Chris Gayle, Wavell Hinds and Marlon Samuels, along with the longer established Shivnarine Chanderpaul.

Lara, Australia Test captain Steve Waugh and Indian batsman Sachin Tendulkar are in Madras to promote the MRF national karting championship.

The inaugural leg will be run off today.