West Indies domestic season, 2007-08 December 29, 2007

Lara set to return to domestic cricket

Lara will be available only for the four-day games © Mid-Day

Just months after quitting international cricket, former West Indies captain Brian Lara is set to return to the domestic game and represent Trinidad and Tobago for the 2008 Carib Beer Series.

Deryck Murray, the Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board (TTCB) president, confirmed the news at a press conference at the Queens Park Oval, saying his earlier conversation with Lara culminated in his decision to come back and play regional first-class cricket. Lara had earlier participated in the recently-concluded Indian Cricket League (ICL), captaining Mumbai Champs.

"Brian can make a great contribution to Trinidad and Tobago cricket in the future, in terms of the development of the game and in administration," Murray said at the tea interval during the Pizza Hut Gerry Gomez North/South Classic in Port-of-Spain.

Murray noted further that Lara's contribution to the national team is more of a motivating factor for the rest of the team as they begin their defense of the Carib Beer Challenge trophy on January 4 against Guyana at the Queens Park Oval.

"Lara's experience and knowledge will be a great asset to the team," Murray said. "We are the champions of the Caribbean, the team to beat and every game will be a final."

However, Murray was careful to say that the inclusion of Lara, who last played for the national team in the double-winning 2006 Carib Beer Series, would not affect the future of the youngsters in the team. Lara is set to return over the weekend and will only be available for the four-day games. It was also made clear that he will not assume the role of the captain as Rayad Emrit was already selected in that capacity.

Being the highest run-scorer in Test cricket with 11,953 runs and the holder of the world records for the highest individual Test and first-class scores, Murray said the board would use the opportunity to give Lara a proper farewell.

"Everyone was taken by surprise when he announced his retirement and I think this is the perfect opportunity for T&T to say thank you for what he has done for local cricket."