Hints at returning in six to eight months June 13, 2007

Lara: 'I tried my best'

Cricinfo staff



'As a team, we've not been able to climb out of the doldrums so that will remain on my mind' © Getty Images
Brian Lara has said that he retired from international cricket on his own terms in spite of his surprising announcement at the end of West Indies' unsuccessful 2007 World Cup campaign.

Lara had initially planned only to retire from one-day internationals at the end of the tournament but was expected to be part of the ongoing tour of England. "We needed a new direction, someone who was willing to see some sort of change," Lara said in an exclusive interview in The Wisden Cricketer. "I was willing to do that. I wanted to come to England but I had also said I wanted to finish with one-dayers. It's not ideal but then how many things in life are?"

Lara also indicated that he could be playing cricket again in six to eight months although he refused to be drawn who for and at what level. "I think I am going to play cricket again. If I go six or eight months without cricket I would lose it and I don't want to lose it yet."

He was part of a West Indian side that suffered a massive slump in form over the last decade. Lara, in fact, has been involved in 63 Test defeats, the most for any player. "I've done what I could do so I'm happy with me," he said when asked if he felt fulfilled. "As a team, we've not been able to climb out of the doldrums so that will remain on my mind. That does not rest well with me. I leave West Indies cricket with my head held high. I've tried my best and I've worked my arse off. Maybe I could have done things differently but I've done things my way - that's the most important thing.

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If a man wants to fault me, then fine. But respect me for trying and that I didn't short-change anyone
If a man wants to fault me, then fine. But respect me for trying and that I didn't short-change anyone."

Lara insists that the problems with West Indies cricket ran deep. "It's that we don't have a good infrastructure for young guys to develop. West Indies have a great Under-15 side. I know a 16-year-old guy in Trinidad who's awesome but I worry for him because of the facilities. A mediocre Australian cricketer at 17 or 18 will be slapping everyone all over the world five years later. If you don't have facilities and you don't have employment then you have a negative atmosphere.

"It's a cliché that cricket is the only unifying force in the Caribbean. It is but there are a lot of other factors that keep us apart. Success in sport and war will always unite but you need to have a greater foundation and a greater core. That has been tested through the decline of West Indies cricket and we have seen how divided we are as a people."

This article in published in full in the July issue of The Wisden Cricketer.
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