Lara drops out of Sri Lanka one-dayers
Brian Lara has been given permission by the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) to miss the one-day internationals on the forthcoming tour of Sri Lanka. Lara, 36, is intent on extending his scintillating Test career and said that a reduction in the amount of one-day cricket might give him "a little more time in the Test arena".
"That's what I enjoy a lot, the five-day game," he told the BBC and added that he had already informed the WICB of his decision. Leonard Robertson, the West Indies communications manager, confirmed that the WICB had complied. Lara was among the 13 players picked for the Sri Lankan tour, which will include two Tests, in Colombo and Kandy, and a triangular one-day tournament also involving India.
Early hints of Lara's reluctance to play one-dayers were provided when he was "rested" for the three ODIs against Pakistan at home last month. Bennett King, the side's coach, hinted at a change in Lara's attitude as far back as the VB Series in Australia in January. "I think we've got to be mindful of his longevity in the game and how we manage him so that we can get the best out of Brian for as long as he wants to play," King said then.
Lara has amassed 9,354 runs in 256 ODIs, including 19 hundreds, and has been one of the most thrilling batsmen in both forms of the game for more than a decade. But Lara's move might not mean an end to his one-day career as he has already publicly said that he is keen to play the 2007 World Cup in the Caribbean. West Indies are not scheduled to play any more ODIs until they visit New Zealand next February and March and Lara will get a chance to concentrate solely on Tests in the intervening period.