Greg?s sly remarks fired us, says Lara

Lara said he was displeased with Chappell's comment after the first match, that the West Indies had forgotten how to win.

india Updated: May 28, 2006 01:24 IST

It was not a historic moment, but one to cherish nonetheless. For the one-time giants of world cricket, a one-day series win against a high-flying side could be momentous. Appropriately, the Queen's Park Oval was decked up for the occasion, with the flags of Trinidad and Tobago, St Lucia, St Vincent, Guyana and that of the West Indies Cricket Board causing a riot of colours in the stands.

Most of these tiny nations — along with a few others which constitute West Indies cricket — are not very prosperous and don't have a common thread like the countries under the European Union. What unites them are primarily cricket and music. Friday saw a celebration of both, which killed Sunday's final ODI as a contest, giving Brian Lara's team an unassailable 3-1 lead in the five-match series.

It was also appropriate that Lara laid the foundation stone of the victory with Chris Gayle and Dwayne Bravo in what was his penultimate ODI at home.

And if he needed further inspiration, it came from unexpected quarters — Indian coach Great Chappell.

Lara made it clear that he was displeased with Chappell's comment after the first match, that the West Indies had forgotten how to win.

"I must say it was a sly remark. We were surprised with the statement and the guys took a note of it," Lara said. "He might be right, but we haven't done too badly in the last week."

Lara said it would be a special moment on Sunday. "The last one is going to be emotional. I hope to add some more to what I have here."

For a man who has played some of the most exhilarating innings during his years in international cricket, Lara was more a picture of determination than bravado. The back-lift was high as usual, but the follow-through was uncharacteristically subdued. He cut off all the frills and avoided stroking the ball square off the wicket, which makes him probably the most attractive batsman of his generation.

He was leading by example still, looking for the future leader. "I am trying to improve every player, including a couple of potential leaders that we have, so that when I leave we have somebody who can take the side ahead," he said. "When I quit, I would like to sit back and see the future of our cricket in good hands. That's why I have become captain again."

On the Indians, Lara said he had detected a chink in their armour: "Their batting lacks experience without Sachin Tendulkar. With (Irfan) Pathan coming in at No. 7, we knew they had a long tail and wanted to put them under pressure. It was a question of winning the situations when the game was in balance and winning this battle was the key."

First Published: May 28, 2006 01:24 IST