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Lara hopes to revive best form in Lahore

Lara, who made his debut in Pakistan 16 years ago, is eager to halt a miserable run that has seen the Windies lose 15 of their last 22 Tests.

india Updated: Nov 10, 2006 19:26 IST

Brian Lara, Test cricket's most prolific scorer, will return to the scene of his debut on Saturday for the first match against Pakistan as his side seeks just its third Test victory since 2004.

Lara, 37, who made his debut at the Gaddafi Stadium 16 years ago, will be desperate to halt a miserable run that has seen the West Indies lose 15 of their last 22 Tests since beating Bangladesh at home in May 2004.

Lara himself has mustered just 687 runs in his last 22 innings, including seven runs in four innings against New Zealand earlier this year.

However his superb 226 against Australia at Adelaide in November last year was a potent reminder of his batting prowess.

He mercilessly belted the Australians with his trademark stance of bat raised high in the air and weight poised on a bent front knee as he swept past Allan Border's world record mark of 11,174 Test runs.

Former Pakistan captain Javed Miandad warned on Friday that despite being on a downslide Lara was a real threat to the home side if they did not prepare turning tracks for the Tests.

"He is not as consistent as he used too be, but if Pakistan don't make wickets to suit their main bowler, Danish Kaneria, he will still murder the bowling," Miandad, who played 124 Tests, told Reuters.

Lara is eager to make the series in Pakistan a successful one in personal and team terms.

"It may be my last tour to Pakistan and first Test of the series is also important for me as I started my Test career from here. I would like to leave an imprint in the series," Lara said on the team's arrival in Pakistan.

Appointed captain for the third time in April, Lara gave Pakistan a taste of his genius last year when he made 130 and 153 in the two-Test series that ended in tied 1-1.

In his last innings of the series in Jamaica, however, Pakistan won after Kaneria managed to outfox Lara and bowl him round his legs for a duck.

"He is like that. He is at his best in difficult circumstances. He loves challenges," said former Pakistan captain Rashid Latif.

Latif, who kept wicket behind Lara on several occasions, said the left-hander could be ordinary against average bowling but a genius against top-class opposition.

"He is a very inventive player who punishes the very good balls with great consistency," he said.

The left-hander is the only player in history to make the highest individual scores in Test (400) and first-class cricket (501).

His captaincy record, however, does not match his batting feats as he has lost 24 out of 44 Tests with just 10 wins.

First Published: Nov 10, 2006 12:37 IST