Cricket: Lara to return as Warwickshire captain

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Brian Lara is to rejoin Warwickshire next season and will also be appointed captain. The record-breaking West Indies batsman was offered the captaincy after his solicitors had indicated he would accept a one- year contract.

Nick Knight, the England A skipper, will continue as vice-captain but Tim Munton is to lose the captaincy after missing last season because of a back injury.

Munton was informed that he would be standing down before the cricket committee met to offer the leadership to Lara.

Dennis Amiss, the county's chief executive, said: "Brian has international experience as a captain and we were impressed by his tactical awareness when he was here in 1994.

Lara, currently touring Pakistan with the West Indies, is expected to sign the contract during a stop-over in London on his way home from the Sharjah tournament next month.

Depending on his commitments in the Caribbean domestic competition next spring, he could resume in county cricket on 17 April against Durham at Edgbaston.

Lara hit his world record score of 501 not out against Durham at Edgbaston during Warwickshire's triple-winning campaign in 1994.

Warwickshire have been negotiating with Lara for several months, but only a few days ago there were reports from Pakistan that he was "still not sure" about accepting their offer.

Munton admitted he was "a little bit surprised" by the timing of the county's decision to appoint Lara as his successor.

Munton had been set a Christmas deadline to confirm his recovery from back surgery and a specialist reported favourably on his progress last week

"There's no doubt if Tim had been able to prove his fitness we would have reappointed him," Amiss said.