On Sunday, Brian Lara reminded one of Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq.
He was down, under fire from his critics and knew his team was on its way out of the World Cup after a third consecutive Super Eights loss — a 113-run loss against Sri Lanka here at the Guyana National Stadium. The West Indians play the formidable South Africans next and it would be game over for them if they don’t win.
But the West Indian captain remained defiant, saying that he still believed the hosts can make it to the semifinals of the World Cup.“I’m an eternal optimist and am focused on what is ahead. It would take a lot of good cricket and a lot of luck to get there,” said the 37-year-old for whom the pressure is mounting to quit as West Indian skipper.
A few weeks back, Inzamam faced almost a similar situation when his team was knocked out of the World Cup by minnows Ireland. The only difference was that Lara at least managed to take his team pass the opening round of the 16-nation contest.
Lara urged his players to regroup saying that the lady luck can still smile on the West Indies.“We will be watching some cricket games now hoping that certain teams win or defeat another one. Our last game of this round is on the 21st and we might be in a match against England where we’re fighting for the last spot. There is a permutation that allows that,” he said.
Lara said that his team had to play four matches in ten days — a tough task that he believes had its toll on his players.“It is tough to have such a schedule. And I mean if you look at someone like Daren Powell you can see that his pace dropped over a period of time. It seems he has dropped about 10 kilometres in the last few days,” he said.
Lara agreed that his team is in a crisis situation but was quick to add that the only way to deal with it was by giving a good fight.“We’ve got to pick up and fight because you never know what can happen,” said Lara who is looking forward to a much-needed break before a do-or-die game against South Africa in Grenada on April 10. “We will take a couple of days off to make it sure we are fresh for the last three games,” he added.
Lara urged West Indian fans to turn up in big numbers for their team’s next three games. “What we can tell them (the fans) is to come out to Grenada and Barbados and support us. We are still in the World Cup and there’s still some hope for us,” he explained.
Speaking on Sunday’s game against Sri Lanka, Lara said Sanath Jayasuriya turned out to be the difference between the two teams. “Jayasuriya was exceptional,” said Lara. “We did not see it coming as after 15 overs there were just 50 runs on the board and two wickets down. But Jayasuriya jumped on us and the next five overs went in excess of 50 runs and set the tone for the innings,” he explained.
He added, “All credit must be given to Jayasuriya. He’s in his 38th year and still looks capable of doing the job.” Lara, meanwhile, is facing an uncertain future. Like Inzamam, who resigned as captain, Lara is under pressure to step down as skipper and it is not clear whether he would pursue his international career if West Indies crash out of the World Cup.
Source:The NewsMore on:Brian Lara, Daren Powell, Grenada, Inzamam ul Haq, Jayasuriya, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Super Eight
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Post InfoThis entry was posted on Tuesday, April 3rd, 2007 and is filed under Cricket.
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