West Indies batting genius Brian Lara may have smashed records but his dream remains unfulfilled.
The stylish left-hander always wanted to make the West Indies a dominant force in international cricket, but was disappointed with the team’s performances in the past decade.
“The last 10-12 years I spent as a player have been very tough. It was a tough ride, a tough career,” said Lara, who quit international cricket after his team’s World Cup Super Eights one-wicket defeat to England.
“The West Indies people need a strong team and we have not been able to produce that for a long time. The West Indies were dominant in cricket when I was growing up,” he reminded.
Lara made his international debut in 1990, and went on to score 11,953 runs in 131 Tests with 34 centuries and 10,405 runs in 299 One-day Internationals (ODIs) with 19 hundreds.
“My dream over the past 17 years was keeping the West Indies on top. When I arrived, we were on top of world cricket,” said Lara, who was accompanied by his daughter Sydney, named in honour of the venue where he hit his first Test century, at a crowded press conference here.
“There was a decline and unfortunately we haven’t been able to stop that. That has been the most disappointing (thing). If there’s one thing that I have great hope for it is to see this West Indies team get back to the top,” he expressed.
“There are many things I am sorry for. You try your best, but sometimes your best is not enough,” he added.
The 37-year-old Lara felt changes were necessary to make West Indies cricket stronger, saying it was the right time for him to bow out.
“Results were not up to expectations and change was necessary. I saw no reason for me to carry on at this point of time. It was the right time to call it a day and I think I made a right decision,” said Lara.
“It was a privilege to play for the West Indies for 17 years and to hold the bat for that long is something I am proud of. I wish the team all the best and I wish the new captain all the best,” he expressed.
Lara holds two batting world records, scoring an unbeaten 400 against England in the Antigua Test in 2004 and an unbeaten 501 against Durham in a first-class game in 1994.
“It (records) was just destiny. The man above decides on all these things,” said Lara, who is also the leading scorer in Tests and the fifth-highest in the shorter version of the game.
When asked what message he had for youngsters, Lara said: “Play the game with passion and commitment and be well-prepared when you enter the field. The support from my family was tremendous. I have so much to thank them for.”
Lara said he would be willing to serve West Indies cricket after his retirement. “I’ll never be lost to West Indies cricket and I think I have an important part to play, but let the right time come. I haven’t thought about my future yet,” he said.
“There’s a book in the pipeline. I can now do what I wanted to but was unable to do when playing. There is no need to rush into anything. I am not writing anything off,” he explained.
Lara said he would like to be remembered as a player who entertained people.
“As long as I entertained people I am happy. It’s important to put smiles back on peoples’ faces. The fans gave an emotional farewell to me. It brought tears to my eyes and I’m always going to cherish memories like this,” he expressed.
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Post InfoThis entry was posted on Monday, April 23rd, 2007 and is filed under Statistics, Cricket, Cricket Stars.
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