Lara hopes to get fit for WC battle in Antigua camp

Published: Thursday, January 9, 2003, 23:01 [IST]
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Port of Spain: Double world record holder Brian Lara hopes he can regain full fitness for next month's World Cup in the West Indies training camp, which begins in Antigua on January 12. Lara is recovering from illness, which sidelined him from the West Indies tours of India and Bangladesh.

"I'm feeling well at present, hopefully in Antigua I will be able to get fully fit and back to meshing with the guys so we can perform harmoniously in the World Cup," he told the West Indies Cricket Board website. The former West Indies captain believes his side can do well in the World Cup. "I think we have a very good chance. I think our performances in India and Bangladesh proves the youngsters are coming through and a good team performance is necessary in the World Cup.

"The young batsmen, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Marlon Samuels and Chris Gayle are all coming forward now looking to establish themselves and the World Cup will be the ideal opportunity." The left-hander will miss the start of a World Cup training camp to play for Trinidad North in a Gerry Gomez memorial four-day match at the Queen's Park Oval, along with paceman Mervyn Dillon and opening batsman Daren Ganga -- a World Cup reserve. "It will be good to take part in a four-day game because I have been out for a long time.

It will be nice to play some sort of competitive cricket," Lara, 33, who has played in two World Cups, said. "It's a cricketing decision really. Lara hasn't played for three months, he has been practising yes, but it makes sense for him to get the necessary match practice," West Indies Cricket Board president Wes Hall said. "Dillon has only recently been declared fit and he too needs the match practice."

Dillon is returning from a lower back injury. Lara was hospitalised with suspected hepatitis during the ICC Champions Trophy in Sri Lanka. The exact nature of his illness has not been revealed but he was last month cleared for inclusion in the West Indies' 15-man World Cup squad.

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