December 18, 2001

Brian Lara doubtful for Pakistan tour after injury set-back


Brian Lara's chances of regaining fitness in time for West Indies tour of Pakistan looked slim on Tuesday morning after a hairline fracture was discovered in his elbow.

The star left-hander had dislocated his elbow in a collision with Marvan Atapattu whilst batting on Saturday in Kandy.

Initial x-rays - taken in Kandy, contrary to false reports that said he was airlifted to Colombo - allayed fears of a fracture and Lara was expected to be sidelined for 4-6 weeks.

But on Monday the left-arm started swelling and Lara was taken off for a second batch of x-rays in Colombo, which revealed the hairline fracture in his elbow joint.

"It was always our intention to seek a second opinion upon our return to Colombo and it has now been diagnosed that there is definitely a hairline fracture at the elbow joint," team manager Ricky Skerritt confirmed.

Skerritt expects the fracture to prolong his recovery period and jeopardise his chances of touring Pakistan, if the West Indies Cricket Board give the go-ahead to the tour scheduled to start at the end of January.

"After resetting the cast around the repaired joint, it is now suggested that Lara would be out of cricket for much longer than was at first thought, for an extra two weeks and for no less than six weeks in all, perhaps longer, depending on healing."

"Brian will be having yet another MRI examination on Tuesday afternoon to confirm all this, plus to see what progress in the healing process has been effected.

"What this means is that Brian Lara is effectively ruled out of the next scheduled West Indies tour of Pakistan, if and when, that takes place."

Lara was to stay with the team during the remaining days of the tour but he has now been booked on an early direct flight to London before West Indies take on Sri Lanka in the final of the LG Abans tri-series on Wednesday afternoon.