Windies could miss injured Lara for India match

Published: Wednesday, October 25, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Ahmedabad:West Indies captain Brian Lara is likely to miss the Champions Trophy match against India here on Thursday after failing to recover completely from back spasms.

"I'm not yet totally sure of playing the match. I trained for the first time yesterday and I got up a bit sore. I think the final decision is going to be made tomorrow," the batting ace said here on Wednesday.

The West Indies skipper sustained the injury during his team's opening Group-A league match against world champions Australia at Mumbai last Wednesday.

Lara scored an impressive 71 in a 137-run stand for the fifth wicket with Runako Morton to set up his team's surprise 10-run victory. He did not field during the Australian innings.

"I have improved a lot over the last five or six days, but things did not look too good when I practised yesterday," Lara said, adding he would take the field only if he was 100 per cent fit.

"Because of yesterday's recurrence, it is going to be difficult for me to go all out at the last minute. I think it might get better with a bit of more rest."

The West Indies will have only 12 players from which to pick their playing eleven if their captain is ruled out of the game. Paceman Corey Collymore, who returned home to be with his wife for the birth of their first child, has yet to arrive.

While Lara was a doubtful starter, batsman Shivnarine Chanderpaul (food poisoning) and fast bowler Fidel Edwards (foot injury) have recovered after missing the match against Australia.

Lara said his team had the players to deliver even if he missed the match.

"I am sure we still have 11 players who can do the job and as a team we are not worried about one or two individuals. I'd love to make it out there tomorrow, but again that decision will be taken at the last minute," he said.

The West Indies captain, who is just 71 runs away from becoming the fifth batsman to complete 10,000 runs in one-day internationals, said the priority was to win the match rather than reach that milestone.

India's Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly, Sri Lankan Sanath Jayasuriya and Pakistan's Inzamam-ul-Haq are other batsmen in the 10,000-club.

"I am not focusing on that," said Lara.

"I am just going to worry about the fact that we have a game to win and we just got to focus on that. Team goals are of utmost importance. The most important thing is to play the best team."

Lara said the team would go into the match with confidence, especially after having done well against India in recent months.

"The guys are full of confidence. I think it is important to understand how big the game is. They are aware that our record has been very impressive," said Lara, whose team won five of their last seven matches against India.

"We are playing in India this time. We see it as something that can transport us even further forward. I think in these sort of situations you can see the real mettle of a team. That's what we are focusing on."

India and the West Indies each have one victory after one match, while Australia have one win and England none after two games. The top two sides advance to the semi-finals.


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