Lara calls on vets

Brian Lara believes that the senior
West Indies players will have to make a substantial contribution if the team is
to do well at the World Cup starting next month in Asia.

Lara, in India for a set of
coaching clinics, said West Indies’ chances at the 19 February to 2 April tournament
will depend on how well the seasoned campaigners perform.

West Indies announced their 15-man
squad for the tournament last week, with key players Shiv Chanderpaul, Chris
Gayle and Ramnaresh Sarwan all included.

“The team has some experienced
players in Gayle, Chanderpaul and Sarwan,” said Lara, who quit international
cricket four years ago. “They have a key role to play and the prospects of the
team would depend on the lead roles they take towards the team’s cause. Darren
Sammy has just started as a captain and he needs the support of the seniors to
do a good job.”

Lara, who led West Indies in 47
Tests and 125 One-Day International during his glittering career, also
supported the recall of Sarwan for the showpiece.

Sarwan was dropped last year for
the tour of Sri Lanka and not offered a retainer contract by the West Indies
Cricket Board who criticised the Guyanese right-hander for his “extremely
indifferent attitude and sporadic approach towards fitness”.

West Indies have not won a World
Cup since capturing back-to-back titles in the 1975 and 1979 tournaments. They
reached the final of the 1983 showpiece where they lost to India and their best
performance since then came in the 1996 World Cup when they reached the

Lara said he had fond memories of
the quarter-final victory against South Africa where he scored a magnificent
111. “The South Africans came into the quarter-final with an unbeaten record in
the league stage and they crashed out losing to us, thanks to my century in
that quarter-final match in Pakistan. We have not done well in World Cups after
that. So that remains my best World Cup memory.”

West Indies have been installed in
Group B and will do battle with Bangladesh, England, Ireland, India, the
Netherlands and South Africa. Lara tips India to win the tournament although
last week he was favouring South Africa.