Pitch and conditions will help Windies: Lara

Published: Tuesday, May 16, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Montego Bay:Brian Lara feels different kind of pitch and alien conditions would make life difficult for a jet-lagged Team India and that might help the hosts upstage the visitors in the five-match ODI series starting on Thursday.

The West Indies captain admits Team India is a tough nut to crack but Lara is not losing sleep over that.

''They are a very good One-day outfit. They have won both the One-day series against Pakistan and England convincingly and must be respected for that. But again they have travelled quite a long way and we all know how difficult it is in the Caribbean,'' he said.

''The pitches will be different, the atmosphere will be different, so hopefully all these things will play a part in us getting the advantage,'' Lara told reporters after his arrival at the Norman Manley International Airport yesterday.

''If we perform as a team we are capable of overhauling them,'' he asserted.

On a high after leading the side to a 5-0 series win against Zimbabwe, Lara also seemed confident of continuing the good run.

''You are going to see a team that has a little bit more confidence,'' he promised.

''Lot of people tried to downgrade it and say it's not against a very good team. But I think winning is contagious and the guys are gaining some confidence,'' he said.

He also felt that the series against Zimbabwe did his side a world of good.

''When you see the likes of (wicketkeeper) Carlton Baugh coming back in the team and performing well, putting some pressure on young Denesh Ramdin. We all have a lot of respect for Ramdin but maybe he needed that sort of competition.''

''Chris Gayle getting some runs, (Shivnarine) Chanderpaul getting the player of the series and (Ramnaresh) Sarwan continuing with his form -- I think the most important thing is we've been actively playing competitive cricket and that's one of the advantages we have over the Indian team at present.''

On his assessment of Team India, Lara said the visitors are going to be tough opponents in both the ODI and Test series and especially in the longer version of the game, his side would have to be pro-active.

'It's important for us in the Test series to start in front and that's what we are going to try and focus on -- being pro-active and not reactive and getting the team focused from very early, from the very first two sessions of the Test series. We know that they are a tough nut. I mean if Sachin (Tendulkar) comes down, the likes of (Rahul) Dravid, (Virender) Sehwag, Harbhajan Singh and Anil Kumble -- I think that they are going to be tough opposition but I feel we can hold our own,'' he added.

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