We weren't professional at the end: Brian Lara

The skipper says, "It is important to correct ourselves in future to win the World Cup."

india Updated: Jan 28, 2007 15:13 IST

Their three-wicket win notwithstanding, West Indies captain Brian Lara said his team did not show professionalism in closing out the game against India in a convincing fashion which was a worrying factor in view of the upcoming World Cup.

"I am happy that we were able to win this crucial game to remain in the series. But we have not shown professionalism in the end, which is important for us to correct ourselves in future games to win the World Cup," Lara said after winning the third ODI on Saturday to keep alive the four-match series.

The West Indies were cruising at one stage needing only 12 runs with six wickets in hand when Lara got out. They proceeded to lose another two batsmen before reaching home, injecting some excitement to the finish.

"We did not show professionalism at the end overs where we lost few wickets. This is an important factor that we need to address for solid performance and finish like professionals," the master batsman said.

Replying to a question about leaving out in-form left-hander Shivnarine Chanderpaul for the game, Lara said all the players in the squad needed to contribute.

"Look at the Australian team. Everyone is a contributor and they are true professionals. Chandrapaul had slight pain in his leg and he was rested. But we need to try and build lot more in our players before the World Cup. Besides Chris Gayle and Chanderpaul, we have to see that everyone contributes to the team cause."

Lara praised Marlon Samuels for his swashbuckling knock and said he was also satisfied with his own contribution.

"We lost the last two games and today Marlon Samuels was on the go. He is a tough performer. When I got to the middle, I told myself that I need to play a part and contribute. I am happy that I was able to play a role in our win."

Lara said at one point he feared his team would have to chase a much higher target.

"At one stage, I thought we need to chase a total of 400 or so. But our bowlers arrested their run rate in the last 15 overs and we were able to restrict the India's total."

The Caribbean skipper showered praise on Robin Uthappa for his blazing innings as an opener.

"I have seen him play in couple games and once in the Caribbean. He played excellent shots. He is a compact and talented player. Fortunately for us, when Chris (Gayle) came on to bowl, he fell for him. But the credit should be given to him for his execution of a solid innings."

Lara felt there was nothing wrong with some experimentation leading up to the World Cup.

"Zaheer Khan and (Sourav) Ganguly were dropped. Like any other team, Indians are also experimenting. They have their full 15 players and they should be able to field a solid team for the World Cup.

Indian skipper Rahul Dravid said the sort of collapse that his team suffered in the final overs made the difference.

"We were 233 for 3 in 34 overs but losing seven wickets in the space of 36 runs was the reason for our loss. We needed to better our performance in end overs.

"I am happy Anil Kumble and Ajit Agarkar bowled well. In fact, our bowlers felt that another 30 odd runs could have changed the result," Dravid said.

The Indian captain said Uthappa played a fine knock but he would learn with experience how not to throw his hand away.

"He gave us a flying start and maintained the tempo. He must be feeling about losing his wicket in that manner. But lot more games he plays, he will learn more. He is playing his fourth or fifth game. It was an excellent innings."

First Published: Jan 28, 2007 14:34 IST