Lara’s enjoying an Indian summer

It comes as no surprise to anyone that Brian Lara has emerged from ‘retirement’ to play again, this time in the Indian Cricket League.

Lara is relatively young at 38 to quit for good because he was still capable after West Indies’ abysmal showing in the World Cup to perform at Test level. He fully intended to tour England this summer, ideally as skipper, until the disastrous series of Super 8 results at the World Cup forced him to hurriedly retire because West Indies supporters and the media alike felt it was time to call a halt to his mercurial career.

Cricket in India is huge and they have scored a coup by enticing Aussie legends Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne as well as Lara into their newly formed league, dangling huge carrots of millions of dollars for the three to give it credibility from the off. All three are past their peak but still talented enough to test the world’s best. You could say they are enjoying an Indian summer in their careers.

It is the inaugural Twenty20 World Cup competition which was created three months ago by Zee Telefilms, India’s biggest media company and is expected to start by the end of the year. The Indians are shrewd because the inaugural 12-nation Twenty20 World Cup runs in South Africa from September 11-24. This abbreviated form of the game is immensely popular so the timing is perfect. If Lara does well and West Indies continue to slump at Test level, who knows, we might see yet another comeback by him. Stranger things have happened in sport.

Lara said on the league’s website: ‘It gives me great pleasure to join the Indian Cricket League. You can’t keep me too far from cricket.’ He knew the West Indies Cricket Board and players alike were no longer reliant on his inconsistent batting and it was time to move on.

At least it was a brilliant career, lasting 17 years at international level that saw him score the most Test runs in history – 11,953 – and that highest Test innings of 400 scored against England in 2004 is likely to stand for a long time. That’s unless the likes of Sachin Tendulkar finds his best form against a minnow team like Zimbabwe or Bangladesh, but at least Lara did his against a relatively top team.

Warne is just as big a signing as the celebrated Trinidadian because he is Test cricket’s highest wicket taker and only retired from the international game in January after helping Australia annihilate England to retain the ashes.

It will be interesting to see if this league flourishes because it is not sanctioned by India’s Board of Control for Cricket. So the stars are effectively rebels, like the Kerry Packer brigade in the Seventies. Lara has always had that rebellious streak in him and Warne has never been a poster boy either for the establishment so they are in good company.

At least the Indian Cricket League will have the credibility of former India captain Kapil Dev on its executive board. He won the World Cup with them and is still revered. Pity Lara didn’t do the same thing with West Indies, on home soil, when he had the chance.

Cayman Islands represented at major windsurfing event

Stuart Jennings did the Cayman Islands proud in the recent 2007 Highland Spring HIHO windsurfing event in the British Virgin Islands.

Representing the Cayman Islands and the Cayman Islands Sailing Club (CISC), Stuart, despite being the youngest competitor, finished a highly credible 25th out of a 60-strong international field.

Stuart, who is also a keen a successful youth sailor, was sponsored by Red Sail Sports, where he visits once a month as part of the Chamber of Commerce’s Mentoring Cayman programme.

‘When he mentioned that he was going to enter in a very high profile windsurfing race, the Highland Spring HIHO offshore windsurfing race in the British Virgin Islands, Red Sail Sports saw it as an ideal opportunity to assist in the cost of the trip with some uniform and cash sponsorship as part of our involvement with the Mentoring Cayman programme,’ said Red Sail Sports’ operations manager, Mr Rod McDowall, in a press release.

‘We saw this as an opportunity for him to promote the Cayman Islands at the same time,’ he added.

Stuart, a student of Triple C High School, has won many awards at the CISC, including the Gail Aiken award for youth sailor of the year and the Youth Sailing National Champion in the Byte CII class.

He is acting as a sailing instructor at the CISC this summer.

The Highland Spring HIHO event was won overall by Antiguan racer Eli Fuller, who also took the honours in 1998, 2001 and 2003. He dominated the large Techno 2 one-design fleet with wins in four out of the five races that comprised this year’s event.

The competition saw the addition of an Open class competing alongside the well-attended Techno division. Top honours in the Open class went to St John racer Nat Ford, a previous champion with a win in the event’s junior division a decade ago.

This year’s event saw 60 racers competing from 15 countries. Participants were accommodated aboard a fleet of yachts.

The event, including races up to 27 miles long, took place in the British Virgin Islands with stops on Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Eustatia Island, Prickly Pear, Anegada, Necker Island, Bellamy Cay, Little Thatch, Jost Van Dyle and Sandy Cay.

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