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Lara joins camp, ends suspense

cricket Updated: Nov 26, 2007 04:31 IST
K Kumaraswamy
K Kumaraswamy
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

The suspense is over. Days of speculation have been put to rest with the arrival of Brian Lara in the city, on Saturday, to play for Mumbai Champs in the Indian Cricket League (ICL).

And whatever the 'behind-the-scenes' stories about the former West Indian captain reneging his contract with the ICL, Lara, who normally lets his bat do the talking, was at his articulate best in trying to fend off the media's verbal bouncers on Sunday.

"I am going to play for the State that Sachin Tendulkar represents. I hope I could do the same justice to the team that he has done in the past," was the sentimental hook shot from the Trinidad legend while speaking on the sidelines of the team's practice match with Kolkata Tigers at the Railways ground.

"I owe this country more than any other. I missed a couple of tours and haven't got a Test hundred here. But I have enjoyed playing and looking forward to it."

On the delay in his arrival itself, Lara said there were nothing sinister about it and that he was "committed" to playing in the ICL.

"I signed up with the ICL in June and am committed to them. I couldn't come earlier because had some personal affair to take care of. Now that I am here, I am looking forward to playing cricket," he said.

The Indian Cricket Board (BCCI) has refused to approve the ICL but Lara believed that with some management skills, the rebels could convince the establishment.

"It (the BCCI's stand against ICL) was expected. The ICC has been trying to spread the game and tap the talent in countries like China. I think they could be more sympathetic to those who are trying to get more players from Test nations," he said.

"Allen Stanford has a similar tournament in the Caribbean but initially he did not have the support of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB). He handled it well and now has the approval."

With the BCCI declaring the ICL and those associated with it as outcasts, the matches are being played at remote stadia. And some of the players in the teams are too young to have played any state-level cricket.