Lara may lead W Indies

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The Independent Online
Brian Lara is standing by to lead the West Indies for the first time in a Test. Courtney Walsh, their captain, is struggling to be fit in time to play in the first Test against New Zealand, which begins tomorrow at Lancaster Park, Christchurch. Walsh, the leading wicket-taker for the tourists, strained his back a week ago and underwent his first training session only yesterday.

"I wouldn't say I was confident of playing - I think it's still too early to decide," Walsh said yesterday. "I'll see how the injury reacts overnight, and then if I can bowl tomorrow I'll be a lot more confident."

The tourists will name their 12 for the first Test this evening, and if Walsh is ruled out, Lara will step up from vice-captain.

New Zealand, meanwhile, are looking forward to having their pace trio of Danny Morrison, Simon Doull and Dion Nash together for the first time in a Test.