Lara predicts 'hiding' for West Indies in Australia
Brian Lara has predicted that even a full-strength team West Indies will have a tough time on the tour of Australia that starts next month. West Indies lost all Tests on their previous two visits to Australia, and Lara felt the Ashes defeat earlier this year will make the home side even more determined to win.
"I fear the West Indies could be in for a bit of a hiding,'' Lara told the Age. ''I think one of the handicaps will be that they haven't played together for a long time, due to the dispute with the board.
''That, coupled with Australia coming off an Ashes defeat with a captain who is under some pressure. They will be trying to get their team back on track. I fear West Indies will feel a backlash from that."
Caribbean cricket had been in turmoil since July when the region's leading cricketers called a strike after a contractual dispute with their board, which forced West Indies to field second-string sides for the home series against Bangladesh and the ICC Champions Trophy. West Indies turned in poor performances in both those contests, and fears that a weakened side would tour Australia receded only last week when the stand-off moved closer to resolution.
Lara felt the return of experienced players including Chris Gayle, Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Ramnaresh Sarwan would help but didn't expect any Test victories for West Indies. "I will just be happy if we play good cricket, and play cricket over five days and not throw in the towel.''
The last time the two sides met in a Test series was in the Caribbean last year, when Australia pulled off a hard-fought 2-0 victory.