Interview | 'Painful to see WI lose'
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Interview | 'Painful to see WI lose'

At times barring my performances, there was not much to rave about West Indies cricket, Lara tells Varun Gupta.

india Updated: Apr 05, 2006 17:37 IST

Brian Lara, the most delightfulof all modern batsmen, was in town.

Like his high back-lift and those rasping cuts and emphatic pulls, the batting's Picasso was graceful in answering everything that Hindustan Times asked him on Tuesday.

How hard has it been for you to play in a struggling West Indies side? Although your performances over the years have been nothing short of imperious, has motivation ever been a problem?

Well it's sad seeing West Indies cricket on the wane. Of course I was part of the fantastic side of the 90s which had the world at its feet. And then came the period of decline that has stretched a bit too long and it sometimes did take its toll on me. It was painful to see that, at times barring my performances, there was not much to rave about. But then I believe it's a cycle. What goes down must come up and vice-versa.

Has the contentious contracts issue between West Indies Cricket Board and the players been resolved completely?

I hope it has been resolved. I mean, we have washed our fair share of dirty laundry in public and I hope the matter has been laid to rest. But then, the talks are going on and I seriously hope that it doesn't affect the World Cup and other tournaments.

Has the influx of money changed the sport?

What money? Only India is raking in the money. Around the world, cricketers are the poor cousins of other sportsmen.

Do you fancy West Indies' chances in the World Cup?

Of course. If we gel as a unit and assemble the best players, then we can do it, as we showed in the mini-World Cup. This World Cup will be a very open one with all the top eight countries in with a chance to nick it.

The toughest period in your career…

The period in 2004, just before I scored 400, against England. We played eight Tests and lost seven, and it really hurt.

The current Windies side is full of promise with players like Ramnaresh Sarwan and Chris Gayle but they have always flattered to deceive. You won the mini-World Cup but since then the performances have been sporadic. What is the problem?

Promising players are coming through the ranks but there is something amiss in our side. Chris Gayle, Sarwan are fantastic but consistency is proving to be our bane. Also, young cricketers need to understand the history of West Indies cricket to be more successful.

What does the future hold for West Indies cricket? With NBA and soccer being followed with fervour, where does cricket figure in the list of priorities for the younger generation?

It is wonderful that other sports are growing popular with the youngsters. It gives them more options. I remember that when I was growing up, it was only cricket in the Caribbean but now soccer and basketball are coming up. The only concern I have is about the infrastructure. We have such marvellous natural talent in the country but all that is going waste because of the lack of facilities. We have done a poor job in that department.

Players of different nationalities are playing for Windies. Your view?

Different nationalities comprising the West Indies team is one of the major problems facing us now. I felt the undercurrent the moment I made my debut. Maybe then the team was more professional but now we need to look into the matter.

What really plagues Windies cricket?

Constant chopping and changing. We have some players who have played more Tests than first-class matches!

Which bowler was the toughest to negotiate?

Wasim Akram for sure. He was quite a handful with his wizardry and skill. He could do amazing things with the ball that defied all laws of physics.

Is there a tinge of regret that you weren't as successful a captain as you would have wanted to be?

Well, it was an honour to captain the country. The first time I extricated myself out of a combustible situation and the second time, it was due to the sponsorship feud.

What are your targets and objectives for the future? How much cricket you think is left in you?

I want to win a lot more with the team. I mean individual achievements hold little water in front of team accomplishments and I really want to see the present side turn the corner around and chart its own high course. Regarding my future plans, I want to play till I enjoy my cricket. The day I stop enjoying, I'll hang up my boots. Presently, I am involved in a few charitable ventures but I'll like to keep them close to my chest.

What does you treasure the most?

I'm not a material man. The sight of my daughter, Sydney, is something I treasure a lot.

First Published: Apr 04, 2006 23:31 IST