Lara appointed captain for Champions Trophy
Guyana Chronicle
August 12, 2004

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ST. JOHN’S, Antigua, (CMC) - Amidst clarion calls for him to step aside, West Indies captain Brian Lara has been given a big vote of confidence by the West Indies Cricket Board when he was reappointed for the ICC Champions Trophy limited-overs series in Britain.

Ramnaresh Sarwan, Lara’s deputy for the last 18 months, has also retained his post of vice captain.

Speculation had been rife that the WICB might have looked in a different direction, particularly when the 14-member squad for the ”Mini World Cup” was announced late on Tuesday and no captain was named.

It was further fuelled when the news release announcing the team indicated that the directors would consider the selection panel’s choice by way of a teleconference call yesterday.

With the unexpected recall of Barbados captain Courtney Browne, there was plenty of talk that Lara might have fallen to the axe. The WICB directors have, however, given him a big boost of confidence.

Lara has come under pressure from former players, including immediate former chairman of selectors, Sir Vivian Richards, the media and fans for his lack of leadership qualities with many calling for him to step down from the position.

The double world batting record-holder has had moderate success since his return to the post ahead of the home series against Australia and Sri Lanka last year.

West Indies’ 256-run loss in the second Test to England at Birmingham leaves them trail 0-2 in the best-of-four series and was their 11th defeat in 18 Tests, since Lara regained the position. It has left the team again facing the spectre of another embarrassing overseas series failure and,
indeed, whitewash.

In his favour, Lara guided the side to the final of the three-nation NatWest Series in Britain before they were beaten by New Zealand. Along the way, they knocked England out of the competition.

In 38 limited-overs internationals since Lara regained the captaincy, West Indies have done much better. They have won 15 and lost 16 of their 38 matches.

Some have also argued that Lara has inherited one of the least experienced West Indies sides ever and this has led to the “devastating failure” over which he has presided and caused him to resign four years ago.