West Indies v Bangladesh, 1st Test, St Lucia June 1, 2004

Lara angry at selection policy

Wisden Cricinfo staff

Brian Lara: 'Leaving out the spinner was not in our best interest' © Getty Images
The unease in the West Indies camp, which has been so clear to see for much of the first four days of the Test against Bangladesh, overflowed off the field yesterday when Brian Lara hit out at selection policies, as well as pitch preparation in St Lucia.

In his syndicated column for the Trinidad-based Sunday Guardian, Lara revealed that he disagreed with the way that the side for the match against Bangladesh had been picked. "The selection process is a democratic one," he wrote. "This should be taken advantage of and hence more thought should be given by those contributing to the selection process." Although Lara is one of four selectors, it is clear that he was overruled in this instance.

This is not his first swipe at the selectors. Back in January, it was widely reported that Lara changed the side in the minutes before the final Test against South Africa at Centurion, replacing Adam Sanford with his own choice, Merv Dillon. This was subsequently denied by both Lara and Sir Viv Richards, the head of the selectors, but the rumours lingered.

What angered Lara this time was the decision to field an all-seam attack. "It was evident at quite an early stage that leaving out the spinner was not in our best interest," Lara fumed. He said that while there was a tendency to hark back to the days of the all-conquering fast bowling era, he felt that "instead of relying on our dream team we should focus on the current situation".

Lara made his opinions clear on the field where he bowled Ramnaresh Sarwan and Chris Gayle for long periods in Bangladesh's first innings where they took combined figures of 4 for 110. And yesterday, Sarwan grabbed 3 for 22 to leave Bangladesh struggling second-time around.

Lara was equally scathing about the pitch preparation at Beausejours Stadium. "It is really disturbing when everyone involved in the preparation of the pitch knows the team we have selected, as well as the opposition we are playing against, yet a placid pitch is prepared."