Lara hopes World Cup will move Windies game forward
By Waheed Khan
Guyana Chronicle
November 27, 2006

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KARACHI, Pakistan (Reuters) - Captain Brian Lara believes that next year's World Cup will prove to be a watershed moment for West Indies cricket on and off the field.

The West Indies host the March 13-April 28 tournament for the first time and have not won the title since 1979.

"The World Cup is a watershed moment for us not only for the practical side of it on the field but financially and administratively it will be a kick-start for something new," Lara said.

"We are looking forward to the World Cup as we are depending on a lot of revenues coming out of it to move West Indies cricket forward," he said.

The World Cup organising committee has vowed to hold a successful tournament despite reservations by other Test-playing nations over the huge logistics involved in hosting the tournament in several different independent islands.

Chris Dehring, the chief executive of the committee, warned this month that venues not meeting requirements could be stripped of their matches.

The tournament contested by the largest number of teams in World Cup history (16) will be held at Jamaica, St Kitts, St Lucia, Trinidad, Guyana, Grenada and Barbados.

Lara said he was confident the World Cup would raise revenues which would help improve a lot of things in West Indies cricket.

"The corporate world in the Caribbean is not as great as in India or the subcontinent but we are depending a lot on the revenues coming out of the World Cup to move us forward," he said.

Lara was also confident about his team's chances at home in the tournament, which no host country has ever won.

"We have played very good one-day cricket over the last couple of years. We are looking forward to the end result of the tournament," he stated.

"We are confident it is going to be very promising and positive for us on the field as well as off it. Although we know the home country historically does not enjoy a good record," Lara said.

West Indies have reached the finals of the Champions Trophy in India and the DLF Cup in Malaysia in the last three months after beating India at home in a one-day rubber this year.

"We have five one-dayers in Pakistan and we come back to India in January. We are quite happy with the way we have played ODI cricket and with our preparations," Lara said.