Cricket: Lara clears the air over rumours

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The Independent Online
BRIAN LARA has dismissed speculation that he is finding the county circuit too demanding and has pledged his long- term future to Warwickshire.

'It's not just one county season that I'm looking for,' he said. 'I've had a knee injury and that's why I've not fielded and not played recently. You can't go out to bat on crutches.

'The knee has been looked at and I just need to keep working on it. But I'm not looking to have any more breaks this summer. If you're injured, you can't play - it's as simple as that.'

The West Indian has just returned from a nine-day break granted by Warwickshire amid rumoured unrest within the Edgbaston dressing-room. Lara had begun leaving the field for long periods, complaining of various ailments and injuries. It was also reported that Dermot Reeve, the Warwickshire captain, had clashed with him and that the players had been told not to talk about him.

Allowed to miss a Championship and Sunday League fixture at the end of last week, Lara took a five-day holiday but said he had also used the time to visit a specialist over his troublesome knee.

'The club handled it in the right way and the Warwickshire administration have been very helpful to me,' he said. 'There was a problem but it was dealt with in a professional way. I'm very happy at the club and the players have all been very nice to me.'

Lara said he was rejuvenated after his break and looking forward to tomorrow's Benson and Hedges Cup final against Worcestershire at Lord's.

Lara said: 'It was a tough decision for me to ask for some time off knowing that people make a special effort to come to watch me play. It was even tougher to ask because we are winning and it's important for me and for the team to achieve success and to maybe create history'.