Former West Indies batting superstar and the captain of ‘Leo Lions’, Brian Lara, is upbeat ahead of the inaugural Masters Champions League (MCL), which gets underway in Dubai on January 28.
A report by Mohammad Abdullah in ‘The Gulf Today’ said Lara emphasised teamwork will be the key to success for his team (Leo Lions) in the tournament.
“We have a few pacers, one-two spinners and quite a few specialist batsmen, but there are a number of all-rounders in the team who provide perfect balance to the squad.
“We are banking on the team’s performance as a whole rather than any individual. Other teams have hard-hitting batsmen like Adam Gilchrist, Virendera Sehwag and Jacques Kallis but we will rely on our team performance.
“Players like Sehwag and Gilly are good hitters of the ball but they might now be unable to manoeuvre the ball like they did 10-15 years back. So, we will try to capitalise on their weakness to thwart them,” said the 46-year-old Lara.
The Master Champions League is the first of its kind competition where erstwhile legends of cricket will once again hone their skills to emerge champions among the masters.
Six teams — Libra Legends, Virgo Supers, Sagittarius Strikers, Capricorn Commanders, Leo Lions and Gemini Arabians — will vie for top honours.
Meanwhile, Lara blamed the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) for the poor performance of the national side.
“The rift between players and board is not something new. It is going on for years, which is harming cricket ultimately. The board is under immense pressure to bring about some changes, if not administratively, then in other areas. Unfortunately, we have some people on the board who don’t think about the West Indies cricket in that way. It is very difficult to see the changes on the field unless the issue is resolved,” Lara commented.
He, however, declared that the future of West Indies cricket is bright.
“A lot of good work is being carried out by the board officials at the grass-root level with an eye on the future. So, I think, we may be able to reap the rewards in the next five to ten years,” stressed the stylish left-hander.
However, he suggested that top players should play in the national team for the betterment of West Indies cricket.
“I feel players like Chris Gayle, Kieron Pollard and Dwayne Bravo should be playing in the West Indies team.”
Many top West Indies players have revolted and left the team amid the pay cut dispute.
The players had urged the board to intervene and dissolve the West Indies Players’ Association (WIPA) as a representative body of the players. As a direct fallout of the dispute with the board, the West Indies team had abandoned the India tour midway back in 2014, following which many rebel players were axed from the squad.
Lara cleared speculations linking him to the West Indies coaching job. “Not, necessarily. I am not eyeing any specific position in the system. But I am always ready to serve the team in whatever capacity I can,” the former West Indies captain said.
The rumours of Lara showing interest in the coaching job were fanned when Australian legendary leg-spinner Shane Warne had suggested the West Indies team seek the help of Lara after they were mauled by an innings and 212 runs at the Hobart Test in the recently-concluded series.
Lara had then responded affirmatively to the suggestion through his twitter account.