Warwickshire leave Lara out in the cold

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The Independent Online
Brian Lara will not be playing county cricket next season after Warwickshire yesterday opted not to re-sign him.

Lara asked to be released from his contract with Warwickshire, claiming he was exhausted, but has since changed his mind. "I have recharged my batteries and if a really good offer came in from an English county I'd be delighted to consider it," he said.

Warwickshire now hope to sign the South African fast bowler, Shaun Pollock. "We expect to hear from him in the next week or so, and he has intimated that he wants to join us," Dennis Amiss, the Warwickshire chief executive, said.

That effectively leaves Lara open to offers, although his agent, Jonathan Barnett, has ruled out the possibility of him playing for another county.

"Brian won't be playing county cricket next season," Barnett said. "We have a gentleman's agreement with Warwickshire about the 1996 season, and as far as I am concerned that agreement is going to be honoured."

Amiss said: "We were led to believe there was no chance of him playing in England this year, but if there has been a change of mind the committee would have to discuss the matter."

Surrey, who hoped to sign Pollock, could go for Lara. "We are in search of a pace bowler," Paul Sheldon, their chief executive, said. "But we would have to look at all the options."