Cricket: West Indies opt for Lara's leadership against England

Brian Lara, one of the most celebrated and controversial characters in international cricket, was named yesterday as captain of the West Indies for the series against England.

Craig Cozier reports from Bridgetown, Barbados.

Brian Lara was named West Indies' captain yesterday for the five Tests and five one-day internationals against England, starting 29 January. He acknowledged he was stepping into a role that is far from easy.

"It's a great honour, but it's a very tricky seat to be in at this moment in West Indies cricket," Lara said. "It is a challenging and exciting role. I'm looking forward to great things from myself and from my players."

The 28-year-old record-breaking batsman replaces Courtney Walsh, the fast bowler who led the West Indies in 17 Tests after succeeding Richie Richardson following the 1996 World Cup. The decision represented an about- turn by the West Indies Cricket Board, who rejected the selectors' nomination of Lara as captain for the tours of Pakistan and Sharjah in November and December, retaining Walsh instead.

Support for Lara has been growing since the West Indies were soundly beaten in all three Tests in Pakistan under Walsh, a 36-year-old veteran of 96 Tests. It was the first time the West Indies had lost every match of a Test series since 1928 in England. They also lost three one-day internationals to Sri Lanka, Pakistan and South Africa in the Golden Jubilee tournament in Pakistan and were defeated by England in the final of the Champions' Trophy in Sharjah.

Lara has been Walsh's deputy for the past four series against Australia, India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan. When an injured Walsh missed the Barbados match against India last March, Lara led the West Indies to victory in his only Test as captain.

A stylish, stroke-playing left-hander, Lara holds the world records for both Test and first-class innings and is regarded as one of the finest batsmen of his time. He has scored 10 centuries in amassing 4,133 runs at an average of 51.66 in his 48 Tests.

His 375 against England in the fifth Test in Antigua in 1994 eclipsed the record of 365 not out set by another West Indian left-hander, Sir Gary Sobers. Lara followed that six weeks later with an unbeaten 501 for Warwickshire against Durham in the County Championship.

Lara has been groomed for the captaincy since he was a teenager. He led the West Indies team to the first youth World Cup in Australia in 1988, was made the youngest captain of his native Trinidad and Tobago at 20 and led the West Indies A team to Zimbabwe at 21. He will return to Warwickshire in the summer as captain for the first time.

Lara's poor disciplinary record has probably delayed his promotion to Test captaincy. He has been fined or warned for disciplinary reasons four times in the past three years. Once he reportedly said he would retire at a stormy team meeting during the 1995 tour of England after a clash with his captain, Richardson. He was persuaded to change his mind, but was fined 10 per cent of his fee.

His most recent transgression came during the home series against Sri Lanka last June when he was fined for reporting late prior to the first Test.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Powdered colors are displayed for sale at a market ahead of the Holi festival in Bhopal, India
techHere's what you need to know about the riotous occasion
Arts and Entertainment
Larry David and Rosie Perez in ‘Fish in the Dark’
theatreReview: Had Fish in the Dark been penned by a civilian it would have barely got a reading, let alone £10m advance sales
News
Details of the self-cleaning coating were published last night in the journal Science
science
News
Approved Food sell products past their sell-by dates at discounted prices
i100
News
Life-changing: Simone de Beauvoir in 1947, two years before she wrote 'The Second Sex', credited as the starting point of second wave feminism
peopleHer seminal feminist polemic, The Second Sex, has been published in short-form to mark International Women's Day
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

Recruitment Genius: Finance Assistant / Credit Controller

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are an award-winning digit...

Ashdown Group: Senior VMware Platform Engineer - VMware / SAN / Tier3 DC

£45000 - £55000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior VMware Platform En...

Recruitment Genius: Purchasing Assistant

£10000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A distributor of specialist ele...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Ledger Assistant

£17000 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A distributor of specialist ele...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable