King confident in Lara

West Indies coach Bennett King has addressed concerns over Brian Lara’s lack of match practice leading into the World Cup, expressing confidence that the West Indies captain will be on form in time for the tournament.

King said, “Within the space of one or two days Brian is usually back to his best because of how much work he has done before.” The Australian-born coach noted Lara’s enthusiasm and eagerness to play, likening him to a “spring chicken”. “He is jumping out of his seat to play,” he said.

Lara did not bat in the West Indies 21-run win over Kenya on Monday, as the hosts tuned up for the opening game of the tournament, against Pakistan next Tuesday. Instead he allowed seven players to bat ahead of him, including uncapped 19-year-old countryman, Kieron Pollard. The West Indies play India tomorrow in their final warmup.

Reflecting on the game against Kenya, King noted the positives of the batting display. He also noted the disappointment attached to the bowling performance, as the West Indies allowed Kenya to reach 247-7 in 50 overs. “We are bowling far too many wides – three to four overs worth. That is an area in which we need to improve,” said King, “We are also giving up boundaries off the last ball of overs. We need to start working on finishing our overs properly.”

India beat the Netherlands comfortably in their first warmup game and will be approaching tomorrow’s match with high intensity. The two teams have played each other on 12 occasions in the space of the last year, with the West Indies winning the majority share of 7. The most recent meeting saw a 3-1 series victory for India, however. Captain Rahul Dravid still managed to put the game in context. “These games allow you to play as many players as possible. We’re still trying to fine-tune a few things,” he said.

India are matched with Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Bermuda in Group C, while the West Indies are joined by Pakistan, Ireland and Zimbabwe in Group D.

Leave a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until they have been approved

More articles by Liam Camps