'I'm ready to play if best team is selected' - Lara
Brian Lara has said that he is ready to continue playing for the national side provided the West Indian board re-selects the squad for the first Test against South Africa and chooses the best team with an assurance from parties. Lara, and six others, had earlier been excluded from the squad for the Guyana Test owing to the sponsorship row between Digicel, the team sponsors, and Cable & Wireless, the players' sponsors.
According to a Press Trust of India report, in a letter to Roger Braithwaite, the Chief Executive Officer of West Indies Cricket Board, Lara said: "In the circumstances, where neither my loyalty to the players nor my loyalty to West Indies cricket can be denied, I confirm that I am ready, willing and able to continue participating in West Indies cricket, provided that, even at this late stage, the best team will be selected with an assurance from all of the parties that the outstanding issues would be brought to the table and discussed."
The exclusion of the talismanic Lara from the squad sent shock waves around the West Indies and even several South African players hoped for the issue to be settled at the earlier and the best team to be selected. Lara continued: "I would also like to see an amicable resolution to the outstanding issues in an atmosphere of mutual compromise and respect, which would all redound to uplifting the morale and pride of the West Indian people who are passionate about the sport."
The West Indies Players' Association also backed Lara's stand and the president, Dinanath Ramnarine, said, "WIPA strongly deprecates the manner in which the Board issued an invitation to Brian Lara to make himself available for selection to the squad for the first Test match."