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Jacobs slams 'selfish' Lara

Ridley Jacobs, West Indies' recently retired wicketkeeper, has pinned the blame for his side's gradual decline on their one remaining superstar, Brian Lara.

Jacobs, who played 65 Tests and 147 one-day internationals in a six-year international career, confirmed his retirement last week after a long-standing knee injury, and has wasted no time in voicing his criticism of the man who, in many people's eyes, has been the one redeeming feature of Caribbean cricket.

"Honestly, the biggest problem is the skipper," Jacobs told Essential, a bi-monthly magazine published in his native Antigua & Barbuda. "The skipper sets the tone for the whole team. You can't be captain and always in the spotlight. You can't be a good captain and have an attitude when you don't do well."

Jacobs's maiden Test series was one of the most humiliating in West Indies' proud history - a 5-0 whitewash on their maiden tour of South Africa - and so he has been well-placed to chart a decline that reached rock-bottom at the beginning of this series, when several leading Caribbean cricketers, including Lara himself, were omitted because of an ongoing contracts dispute.

"A captain has to be able to motivate his team," added Jacobs, who scored 2577 Test runs at 28.31, in addition to making 219 dismissals. "He can't afford to be selfish. With this captain, it is not for the love of the game any more, it's for him." Lara returned to the game with a bang, with two thrilling centuries in Trinidad and Barbados, but neither could save West Indies from heavy defeats.

"I would not go back, even if they had asked," said Jacobs, who admitted that the final straw was reached on last year's tour of England. "After my injury and knee surgery in Britain, I lost my motivation. I realised at that time they didn't care about me. Well, I knew before that, because they were always doing things to frustrate me."

Jacobs, however, has not fallen out of love with the game of cricket, and is keen to forge a new career in coaching. "I would really like to dedicate myself to young wicketkeepers in the region, like be a one-on-one coach," he said. "I love the game. Cricket is a good sport. It brings Caribbean people together. When I play cricket, I don't play for myself. I play for the people first."