England v West Indies, Super Eights, Barbados April 20, 2007

Playing for more than pride

Cricinfo staff

'He was a genuis, a person who could hit the same ball to any area of the ground' © Getty Images

West Indies lost four of their five Super Eights matches and with it the chance for a semi-finals berth. But their last game in this World Cup on Saturday assumed importance not only for the sake of pride but also due to the impending tour of England in May. "We have got a tour of England coming up, and it's important that we play well against them on home soil, on a track that suits our bowlers. We are looking for a competitive performance, and hoping to come away with a win," coach Bennett King was quoted by AFP.

Asked what his plans were after captain Brian Lara announced his retirement from international cricket, and Duncan Fletcher stepped down as England coach, King said he was constantly considering his options. "With coaching, you are never quite sure what the bosses are looking for, you are never sure when they have a different vision of taking the team forward and you may not be part of that," King said ahead of Saturday's match aginst England, which ends the Super Eights stages.

Like Lara, King also came under fire after West Indies' disappointing run in the tournament, and he once again harped on the need to improve facilities for the team to become a top-notch side. "The next thing after the England match will be to get a review of the World Cup with the cricket committee and plan for the next four years," he said.

On Lara's retirement King said it signified the end of an era. "He was a genuis, a person who could hit the same ball to any area of the ground. He is very resilient, and a very tough guy. His mental fortitude is among the best I have seen," he said.

"Tactically, he was a bit different from what people expected, but with the side we have and the skills in the side, he had to try different things. He was prepared to take a risk, and I encouraged him to take a risk.

"With his retirement, we are losing a wonderful cricketer. You don't want to be creating robots, and he wasn't a robot, that's for sure."