Senior players hold the key for West Indies in World Cup

Former West Indies captain and batting legend Brian Lara said that the team's chances in the upcoming World Cup would depend a lot on the senior players in the side.West Indies, champions in the first two editions of the premier event, have failed to regain the trophy since their 1979 triumph and their poor World Cup showing has coincided with their fall from their once invincible days. "The team has some experienced players in Chris Gayle, Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Ramnaresh Sarwan. They have a key role to play and the prospects of the team would depend on the lead roles they take towards the team's cause," observed Lara.

"Sammy has just started as a captain and he needs the support of the seniors to do a good job," added Lara, while opining that recalling Sarwan for the World Cup, being co-hosted by India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, was a right decision.The right-handed Sarwan, out of the favour for several months now owing to poor form, is considered a valuable bat in sub-continental conditions.West Indies, however, might take lot of confidence from the fact that the last time the team entered the semifinals of a World Cup was in the 1996 edition, co-hosted by India. But Lara felt that the 1996 team was better in terms of experience.

However, for the southpaw, who represented West Indies for 17 years and holds the record for highest individual scores in both Tests and first class cricket, the 1996 edition holds a special place in his heart."The South Africans came into the quarterfinal with an unbeaten record in the league stage and they stopped out losing to us, thanks to my century in that quarterfinal match in Pakistan. We have not done well in World Cups after that. So that remains my best World Cup memory," said Lara. Asked about Gayle, Kieron Pollard and some other key players' rejection of West Indies Cricket Board contract, Lara called for more rapport between cricketers and administrators.


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