Cricket: Lara decision sparks reaction

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Not long ago Brian Lara was the record-breaking batsman whose signing by a county side would have been greeted with a firework display. The reception he gets nowadays still generates a lot of heat, but it is more in the way of smouldering resentment.

A section of the 15,000 Warwickshire membership have reacted to Lara's appointment as captain with a petition questioning the way the West Indies batsman appeared to be rushed into the job as replacement for Tim Munton, last year's injury-troubled captain.

The petition organisers are unimpressed with Lara's limited record as a captain and are concerned that "disagreements within the West Indies side could spread into Warwickshire's dressing-room".

"We had no problem with Brian when he was here in 1994 and it was a unanimous decision - involving many former players - to make him captain," Dennis Amiss, the club's chief executive, said.

"We debated the matter long and hard once it was decided there were too many uncertainties about Tim Munton's match fitness for next season.

"We talked about Nick Knight and Neil Smith, but decided that if Brian were to be captain he would be even more focused and committed."

Warwickshire appear to be unusually anxious about heading off a rebellion. Amiss cancelled a prior engagement on Thursday to answer questions at a routine social gathering at Edgbaston.