Cricket

No team will take Windies for granted, says Lara

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

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MUMBAI, India (CMC) – Former West Indies batting maestro Brian Lara believes the Caribbean side remain a feared side in the shortest format but will not be among the favourites for next year's Twenty20 World Cup in Australia.

West Indies are reigning T20 world champions following their conquest at the last World Cup in India three years ago but have since endured a run of poor results, leaving them ninth in the International Cricket Council (ICC) rankings only above the likes of Bangladesh and Scotland.

“Whatever tournament the West Indies are going to, they'll never be favourites at this point in time … even when we won the two tournaments in the past,” the former West Indies captain pointed out.

“What we do have is the shorter version of the game. A lot of young players that are coming into the team, [Shimron] Hetmyer, [Nicholas] Pooran, they are very very good in the T20 version, in the limited-overs version of the game.”

He continued: “The talent is there, and I've always said in the past that the West Indies have some of the best talents in the world coming through. What we do with that talent, how we harness that talent is the most important part.

“I reckon that the next eight, ten months before the World Cup there will be a lot of planning. You may even see some new faces coming through. If you listen to any other teams in the world or captains, they're very wary of the West Indies. They never ever take us for granted, which is a good thing.

“So hopefully we will make a good showing coming to the World Cup.”

The T20 World Cup is set for October 8 to November 15 and West Indies will hope to make their mark especially after producing a hugely disappointing showing at the 50-overs World Cup earlier this year in England.

In the wake of that debacle, Cricket West Indies have made several changes, among them appointing Kieron Pollard as white-ball captain and announcing former Test batsman Phil Simmons as the new head coach.

Their first assignment will be a three-match one-day and T20 series against minnows Afghanistan in India next month, and Lara said it was critical the Windies adjusted quickly to conditions on the subcontinent in order to be successful.

“To be successful anywhere in the world you have to adapt very quickly. If you're playing in Australia, India, South Africa, West Indies …they're all different conditions,” he explained.

“First and foremost, everyone that plays international cricket has a certain level of skill and talent to play the game. How you approach with your mental strength is key, adaptation of the environment you're in is key.

“Learning all these important things to be successful … to be a step ahead, not having any excuses. I think those things are key to making sure that you're successful playing anywhere in the world.”


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