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Lara still not fit, unlikely to play

india Updated: Oct 26, 2006 12:17 IST
G Krishnan

Brian Lara just stopped short of saying on Wednesday that he would be unavailable for West Indies' crucial match against India.

The West Indies captain suffered back spasms during the previous game against Australia in Mumbai.

Asked if he was fit for Thursday's match, Lara said, "I am not sure yet. I trained for the first time on Tuesday and it (back) was a bit sore. The final decision will be made on Thursday. I am sure we still have an XI that will do the job. I'd love to make it. I am not going to do anything that will disable the team."

Lara added he would not disable the team by taking the field when not at his 100 per cent. "It is important to put up a fully fit XI," he said. "Our record against India has been impressive and we see it as a step forward, a psychological advantage over India."

"This match is huge. The crowd will be supportive of India but it is these conditions that will show the real mettle of a team. The guys are fully aware of that," he added.

The Trinidadian said that dew would not be a factor.

"It is important to play your best team," he said. "Sri Lanka used two spinners productively on Tuesday and South Africa did not use any. As far as we are concerned, we know what to do and pick the team accordingly. We will try and put up an XI that will ensure us a win."

Not one to look at milestones --- he is 79 short of 10,000 runs in ODIs --- Lara also said he did not want to look at the negatives of his team's inconsistencies, especially in the middle order. "I can only go as far back as to our last game against Australia and there the numbers five and six got a good partnership," he said.

"We are going to focus on the positives and move forward. This team is constantly improving. I am focussed on winning and keen to contribute to it, if not physically in the middle, then from the sidelines."

He admitted it was frustrating to miss matches, especially after he had expressed his desire to entertain the Indian crowd in his first competitive visit to India in 10 years. But he said he saw positives in it too.

"We've seen the depth in the team," he said. "See, despite Corey Collymore not being around (he has been granted permission by the West Indies Cricket Board to extend his stay as his wife is yet to deliver their baby), we have had guys who've filled the gap admirably. We have players we can call upon.

"Having said that, we still want to pick from among 14 players. When we get that, it will be a great advantage."

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