Donald dashes Lara's hopes

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The Independent Online
Brian Lara's wish to delay his return to Warwickshire for another year looks unlikely to be granted, because South Africa's Allan Donald does not want to continue his stint as the county champions' overseas player.

Lara signed a three-year contract in February to reappear from 1996, but then told Warwickshire he would like to take a rest. Warwickshire sounded out Donald about returning as a player but, according to the head of South African cricket, Ali Bacher, the fast bowler wants to take up the Edgbaston club's original offer of a coaching position.

Bacher said that Donald, like Lara, realised he needed a rest from non- stop cricket, especially with a hectic 1996/97 season in prospect. "Allan is under contract with us for 12 months and during the 1996/97 season we go to India for two months, then India come to us for two months and, after that, Australia tour here for two months.

"That comes to nine Test matches, several one-day internationals and a lot of domestic cricket within a six-month period. I didn't even have to nudge him. He said to me: next English summer, it's time for a break."

Bacher said Donald, who first played for Warwickshire in 1988, had phoned him on Tuesday to say the club had asked him to return for the 1996 season. "However, we have agreed to give Allan six months' rest and this is in the best interests of both Allan Donald and of South African cricket," Bacher said.

David Mannasseh, one of Lara's business advisers, said: "Warwickshire have been very understanding but obviously, if they cannot get Allan Donald for next season, then Brian will honour his contract." Lara is feeling the strain after playing virtually non-stop for two years.

Roger Twose, the English-born all-rounder who was yesterday selected for New Zealand for the first time, will continue to play for the champions until he makes his Test debut in India in October.

"Roger has got to play for New Zealand before he becomes an overseas player," Dennis Amiss, the Warwickshire chief executive, said. Twose, 27, whose parents live in New Zealand, qualified to play for the country after playing at first-class level there each season since 1989/90.