Brian Lara has said that the hurricanes that lashed the Caribbean islands recently inspired his team to play to their potential in the ICC Champions Trophy, where they pulled off a surprise win. Speaking to Associated Press, Lara said, "We all lay in our beds very comfortably while our people in the Caribbean were fending for their lives. It was the catalyst for this very young team for what they achieved in England over the past three weeks."
According to the AP report, Hurricane Ivan has caused around 70 casualties in the Caribbean, while Hurricane Jeanne has killed more than 1500 people, many of them in Haiti. West Indies' victory in England helped boost the spirits of fans back home, and Lara and his men arrived to an appropriately boisterous welcome at Bridgetown, Barbados.
Darren Sammy, the youngest member of the team at 20, and the first player from St Lucia to represent West Indies, led the team off the flight, carrying the trophy on his head. He was greeted, among others, by Garry Sobers and Teddy Griffith, the president of the West Indian board.
Speaking at the official reception Tony Howard, the team's manager, said that a lady had telephoned him a day before the final. "I had no idea who she was except that she was Grenadian," he said. "She said 'my house has been blown down but if you guys win for me tomorrow, it really doesn't matter. I'd be the happiest woman in the world.' I expressed that to the team and, with one voice, they indicated that it was never going to be a problem."
Lara, when asked how long he intented to continue playing international cricket, said, "As long as Shoaib doesn't hit me again, a couple more years," a reference to the blow on the neck that he received from a Shoaib snorter in the match against Pakistan.
"I enjoy being a part of this unit," he continued, "and it's something I would miss, so I've got to be very careful how I plan my future. Most important, I want to leave a legacy, I want to leave a team that's going to take us where we belong."