Cricket: Captaincy saga affecting Lara's form

The West Indies' captaincy for the England tour of the Caribbean is still unresolved and one of the main candidates, Brain Lara, is feeling the pressure, as Mark Baldwin explains from Sharjah.

Brian Lara is desperate to be West Indies' captain when Mike Atherton's team face them in the Caribbean next month. But should the West Indians beat England's one-day specialists in the Champions Trophy final on Friday, the present skipper Courtney Walsh might get a stay of execution.

Walsh looked certain to be sacked following the 3-0 Test whitewash by Pakistan, yet the West Indies have bounced back in Sharjah and beating Adam Hollioake's side would enable them to go home for Christmas with some pride restored.

That all leaves Lara caught in the middle of a saga that has threatened to tear apart the team once regarded as the world's best. For Lara the last few months especially have been a curious, even tortured, existence.

The West Indies coach, Malcolm Marshall, admitted yesterday that the long debate about the captaincy issue has affected Lara.

The world's most exciting batsman, holder of both Test and first-class record scores, has been struggling for runs as he tries to show the selectors that he is the man to take over the reigns of a team in sharp decline.

Walsh, by contrast, is bowling as well as he has ever done in his life. The 35-year-old Jamaican was the top wicket taker in Pakistan, and in Sharjah has been the most potent new-ball force in the tournament.

Marshall denied that Walsh and Lara did not get on and dismissed reports that they do not even speak.

Lara, though, has been keeping a deliberately low profile during the last 10 days in Sharjah, spending virtually all his leisure time on the golf course away from the team and media glare.

Marshall said: "I don't think Brian's batting problems during the last few weeks have been technical. The whole captaincy issue is affecting him and he has spoken to me about it a couple of times. When you know you are close to becoming captain I think it would affect anybody.

"He is very disappointed with his batting. But he loves to play for the West Indies and there is no way he would not play against England in the Test series if he was not made captain. He is not that sort of person."

Marshall said personal criticism back home in the Caribbean had also hurt Lara, especially for not attending a team sponsors' function when in fact - according to Marshall - he was not due to be involved anyway.

Lara has also struggled, said Marshall, to come to terms with the mental burden of being expected to score more heavily than anyone else every time the West Indies bat.

Hollioake's team had a relaxing day yesterday, only travelling from their Dubai base to the Sharjah Stadium late on for some fielding practice under lights. They plan a full net session tomorrow morning.

Lara, meanwhile, will meet Warwickshire chief executive, Dennis Amiss, to sign his one-year contract for next season during a brief stop-over in London this weekend on his way home from Sharjah. Lara succeeds Tim Munton as captain.

Lara played for Warwickshire in their treble-winning campaign three seasons ago and said: "I can't wait for the opportunity to return to Edgbaston, the scene of such wonderful success for myself and the club in 1994."

Highlights of tomorrow's match will be televised on Grandstand on BBC 1 on Saturday.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
peopleMathematician John Nash inspired the film Beautiful Mind
News
Richard Blair is concerned the trenches are falling into disrepair
newsGeorge Orwell's son wants to save war site that inspired book
Life and Style
Audrey Hepburn with Hubert De Givenchy, whose well-cut black tuxedo is a 'timeless look'
fashionIt may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
Arts and Entertainment
The pair in their heyday in 1967
music
Life and Style
fashionFrom bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine