Cricket: West Indies worried by Lara wrist injury

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The Independent Online
BRIAN LARA, the West Indies captain, withdrew from the pivotal fifth one-day international against Australia yesterday, still troubled by a wrist injury sustained in South Africa in January.

Lara is also likely to miss the last two matches of the series this weekend in Bridgetown, Barbados, according to Mike Findlay, the chairman of selectors. "Brian's right wrist is sore and swollen," Findlay said. "He was in some pain batting in the previous matches and has been medically advised to rest it."

The 29-year-old batsman sustained a hairline fracture of his wrist when he was hit by a delivery from Jacques Kallis, the South African all-rounder, in a one-day international in Durban on 27 January. It put him out of action for three matches but he showed no signs of discomfort during the recent four-Test series against Australia, in which he amassed 546 runs at an average of 91, including scores of 213, 153 not out and 100.

In the first four one-day internationals, however, Lara scored only 49 runs and dropped himself in the order from No 3 to No 5 in the last two. "His efforts in the Tests seem to have aggravated the injury and he has struggled more and more recently," Findlay said.

His condition is cause for concern on the eve of the seventh World Cup that starts in England on 14 May. Findlay, however, claimed doctors were confident the wrist would be healed by then.

Javed Miandad yesterday resigned as Pakistan coach less than a month before the start of the World Cup tournament. Javed said that he had faxed his resignation to the Pakistan Cricket Board chairman, Khalid Mahmood, citing "pressing family commitments" as his reason. The resignation was tendered with immediate effect.

Javed, a former Pakistan captain, said: "I wish the team good luck in the World Cup and hope and pray that the title returns to Pakistan."

Javed's resignation comes at a strange time considering the team's recent form. Pakistan have enjoyed an impressive run culminating in winning the Sharjah Cup one-day tournament earlier this month. But media reports over the past few days have highlighted disputes between Javed and senior players.

"I had been thinking of resigning for the last 48 hours after whatever had been appearing in the media which gave prominence to players' claims," Javed said.

Javed was appointed last September on a contract which was to have run until the end of the World Cup in June. His spell as coach began badly with home Test series defeats by Australia and Zimbabwe. However, Pakistan have turned their fortunes around this year, drawing a Test series in India and winning the inaugural Asian Test championship.

But local newspapers said team unity was not good. Players were said to be upset because Javed reportedly did not share a 50,000 dirham (pounds 8,125) gift from a Pakistan businessman after Pakistan won the Sharjah final. "The allegations are baseless. But the reports that have been published clearly indicate that they [the players] don't want me. If that's what they want, I don't want them either," said Javed.