Lara denies pay deal lead to England tour U-turn

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The Independent Online

West Indian batsman Brian Lara has denied a newspaper report that he is being paid additional money to tour England this summer.

On Saturday, The Trinidad Guardian said Lara - who initially said he was not available to tour England with the West Indies - was persuaded by a new deal earning him £80,000 instead of the original tour fee of £25,000.

"It is completely false to state that I have been paid additional money as an inducement to tour England with the West Indies team," Lara said in a written statement. "This was never and is not a consideration at all."

Michael Findlay, chairman of the West Indies selectors, said last Thursday that Lara would be part of the touring party to England. Adding that Lara had originally told the selectors that he would not be available to go on the summer tour.

Findlay said that after persuasion by his friends, Lara sent a second letter to the board saying he would be available and that his initial reluctance to tour was because of the illness of his mother, Pearl.

Lara said he was pained by the report of a bigger pay cheque, and was considering legal action over the article.

Lara has been on an extended rest period having given up the captaincy of the West Indies team in February after the team was badly beaten in New Zealand. He has since traveled to the United States to seek counseling for stress.