Lara upbeat after Windies clinch ODI series

Published: Monday, May 29, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Port of Spain:Brian Lara's possible final international appearance on home soil in the two-island republic of Trinidad and Tobago brought the West Indies captain great satisfaction.

Lara led West Indies to victories in the last two One-day Internationals against India to give the home team a 4-1 triumph in the five-match series.

With no matches in the 2007 ICC World Cup for West Indies in Trinidad and Tobago, and no other international fixtures scheduled for the Queen's Park Oval until possibly the 2008 West Indies home season, it was the last chance for Lara's adoring compatriots to dote over him.

"It was magnificent, and I must thank all of the people of T&T and the Caribbean for making this an enjoyable outing," remarked the 37-year-old Lara in a post-match interview.

"I appreciate not just the support of my teammates and management crew, but the Queen's Park Cricket Club - of which I am a member - it has been a tremendous run for me."

Lara was also thrilled that a slightly weakened West Indies side had been able to overcome the Indians in the final ODI.

"You can tell that there is a lot of team spirit and the guys are rallying around each other," he said.

"We lost Corey Collymore [to a twisted ankle] very early, and Wavell Hinds chipped in with a couple of early wickets, so you can see the all-round team effort, and I think it is good for us.

"Everyone is pulling their weight and everyone is feeding off each other, and we are showing a lot of spirit."

India's captain Rahul Dravid admitted his side were simply outplayed by West Indies in the ODIs.

"It was a tough series for us and I thought West Indies played really well," he said.

"I thought we did well in this final match to restrict them to 255 after the good start they received, but we kept losing wickets at regular intervals."

India entered the series rated third on the International Cricket Council's ODI Rankings.

They have now slipped two places down to fifth, but Dravid is not too concerned about the outcome of the series.

"I think they played the better cricket throughout the series and kept improving," he said.

"They probably made better use of the conditions, and something at which we need to get better. We need to learn quickly how to play in these conditions, if we are to be competitive in the Test series.

"This is a chance however, for us to regroup, and look at the areas of our ODI game in which we can get better and go onwards."

The two sides now contest a four-Test series with matches at St. John's (June 2-6), Gros Islet (June 10-14), Basseterre which is staging a Test for the first time from June 22 to 26, and Kingston (June 30-July 4).

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