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'Lara's attitude was disappointing'

He should have led by example, instead he blew his top, writes Michael Holding.

india Updated: Jul 04, 2006 16:26 IST

There is little doubt that this was a below standard pitch laid out at the centre of Sabina Park for the fourth and final Test. It conducted a serious examination of batsmen's technique. Yet the highest total of the match was made in the fourth innings so probably it was not as bad as it was made out to be. The lower order, through their application, also showed what was possible.

But I was disappointed with the attitude of Brian Lara. He raised a stink about the pitch and conditions when he should have shown composure and the attitude to try and overcome it. He should have led by example, shown the application needed to overcome the surface. Instead he blew his top and I am not sure if it helped his men.

He is said to be a genius and probably only a genius can affirm the fact. I certainly cannot recognise his captaincy as being very good. At times it does appear that he is trying to reinvent the game.

These days batsmen too often score easy runs so when a real test comes along, they decide pretty early that it is hard work and probably not worth the effort.

In the first three Tests, they were not really stretched. But things were different here. It needed discipline which they did not exhibit.

I am still inclined to believe that this West Indian unit has shown improvement. Young cricketers appeared more willing to fight and that is a good sign. Unlike the times when Shivnarine Chanderpaul was at the helm, this one is looking more like a unit. West Indies need to build on this basic ingredient for progress.

India has reasons to feel happy at how they have performed in the series. They deserved to win not by one but two Tests only if the rain had not intervened. This West Indies team, despite their poor record, is not an easy one to beat at home. But they did not deserve to win after making just 103 runs in the first knock of the final Test. India should take a lot of positives from this series.

I guess India did not opt for five bowlers in the series because they were not sure if put together they could raise enough runs. It did not hurt them in the end.

Also, there must be a bit of disappointment back home over the form of Yuvraj Singh. But he is young and certainly a talented lad. To me it appears that he does not bat in Tests too differently from the way he does in one-dayers. There is certainly talent in him and coach Greg Chappell is competent enough to suggest the areas where he can improve.

This Indian side has many young cricketers who believe in themselves. On a tough tour such as Caribbeans, they also showed they had the mental resolve and physical resilience. If they can keep learning from the examples set by their admirable seniors, they would have a rewarding career ahead of them.

I must mention Rahul Dravid and two of his knocks which served his side so well. He is a dedicated team man and it was only fitting that his contribution in his team's win was substantial. He had the will and the technique at his command to prevail over the circumstances. He was a clear choice for individual honours by a long margin.

India is beginning to show that they can be on road for long period of times and still come good. They certainly were the dominant force in the series. This side is beginning to show that they can take setbacks in stride and come good in the end. In Pakistan, they lost the Test series, came second in the first one-dayer and yet were comprehensive winners in the end.

Here too, they had a disappointing and unexpected loss in one-day series, had hard couple of days in the Antigua Test but thereafter never took the foot off the gas pedal.

They have now got a few medium-pacers who certainly seem to have the mental make-up to serve them long. The spinners are also proving reliable in foreign conditions and both Kumble and Harbhajan Singh had an outstanding series. They did not allow West Indies batsmen to get on top of them, except for once in St Kitts.

That says a lot about which one was the better team in the series.