Lara: Windies team will struggle in England

Trinidad Guardian:-Former West Indies cricket captain, Brian Lara has said that the West Indies team which begins its tour of England today, will struggle against a world class side in difficult conditions.

Speaking on the opening day of his pop-up 400* Memorabilia Museum at the Beetham Community Centre yesterday, Lara said that while he is optimistic about seeing individual performances and talent, cohesive team performances would be difficult to achieve.

“England is a seasoned cricket team now and the West Indies have not beaten England in England since the 80’s. In my first tour which was I think in 1990-91 in England we drew that series 2-2 and we haven’t won since. So being optimistic is one thing, but when you look at the stats you would see that England is a very, very good team in all formats of the game and the West Indies are going to struggle.” said Lara.

He added: “It is also going to be August September so the weather is going to be changing to that wet and cold sort of scenario so its going to be difficult for a young West Indies team to come out successful. We’ve got a lot of great talent in the team and you’re going to see some amazing performances here and there but putting it together and getting the collective drive moving forward is going to be difficult.”

While he acknowledges the West Indies talent that is actually England, the double world record holder lamented that there could have been a stronger side available had the game’s regional administrators had to foresight to schedule the tour differently.

Lara said: “The Indian cricket Board seem to work pretty well with their IPL. There’s no international cricket during that time. But the West Indies board doesn’t seem to have that kind of mindset. This is our premier tournament and when you look at the Oval for instance during the CPL and the amount of people coming out, every young cricketer wants to play in that sort of environment. I don’t know the intricacies of why there is cricket being played during the CPL but other countries don’t do it but its wrong.”

“The West Indies cricket board must have their reasons why they are carrying on a tour during the most popular time in West Indies cricket here at home.

“But the likes of Darren Bravo playing CPL and not test cricket this is an unbelievable thing. Again, the fans who are great stakeholders would feel a little bit hurt that the CPL is going and we don’t have our best players out in England.”

Lara happy to see CPL finals move south

Meanwhile, asked to comment on the hosting of this years Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) play-offs and finals at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy in Tarouba, the facility named in his honour, Lara stated his delight. However he said that he holds some reservations about whether all systems are in place to manage an event of that magnitude.

“Anybody would realise that most of the cricket fans come from Central and South Trinidad. I remember when I would have played a first class match years ago at the Queen’s Park Oval and there would only be 500 to 1000 people there.
“Then we would play at Guaracara Park, a venue that only holds three or four thousand people and it would be bursting with six or seven thousand. So I don’t see a problem with the fact that we’ve moved the CPL finals away from the Oval; my main worry is that its a very young facility and whether we are ready for such a situation. Hopefully any teething problems from the opening can be solved, because the rest of the world will be looking on.” Lara said.