Not all of my dreams have been fulfilled: Lara

Published: Sunday, April 22, 2007, 23:53 [IST]
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Bridgetown, Barbados:Brian Lara bid an emotional farewell to international cricket on Saturday but admitted he leaves the game with regrets that the West Indies are still a struggling team.

Lara's 17-year career finished on a losing note when his team were beaten by one wicket by England in their final World Cup Super Eights match at a packed Kensington Oval.

Despite a career boasting 11,953 Test and 10,405 one-day runs as well as twin batting records of a Test best 400 not out and 501 not out in first class cricket, he leaves the game with regrets.

"Not all of my dreams have been fulfilled," said captain Lara who made just 18 on Saturday before he was run out in the West Indies total of 300.

"From the very first time I played cricket, my dream was to see the West Indies back on top of the sport.

"Unfortunately, that hasn't happened and we haven't been able to stop the decline. That's the most disappointing thing.

"I'm a team player. I have great hopes for the West Indies that they will get back on top and whoever takes over from me needs to have support. That would be tremendous."

Lara then asked the crowd: 'Did I entertain you?' The huge response told him what he wanted to hear.

"If I have entertained you then I am really happy. Thanks for your support down the years.

"Today I have friends here from my school years and from throughout my life. Thanks to everyone. I have enjoyed every single minute of it."

Lara said that his 277 against Australia at Sydney in 1993, his world record Test innings of 375 and then 400 and winning the 2004 ICC Champions Trophy in England were his proudest moments.

"My daughter is called Sydney because of that first Test century and she is here today," said Lara.

"Things didn't work out as planned today. It was still a very good cricket game, 600 runs scored in the day and a fitting way to end my career - runs galore.

"Unfortunately I didn't play much of a part with a bat, but I'm really proud of the effort shown by the team but unfortunately we didn't get home, but it's good to see the spirit is still there."

England captain Michael Vaughan, who made 79, his best score of the tournament, paid tribute to Lara for whom him and his team had formed a guard of honour when he came out to bat.

"He's a genius. There are not many geniuses in the game and we're losing one today, so we all wish him well," said Vaughan.

"I'd love to say we're glad to see the back of him. He's scored a lot of runs against us and it will be nice to play against the West Indies without him. He's had a great career and we wish him well."

Vaughan added that man-of-the-match Kevin Pietersen, who made a century Saturday, could go on to emulate Lara's achievements.

"He has a huge amount of talent and a lot of skill to go with that, his 100 today was a great effort," he said.

"He has plenty more runs in the locker and he could end up being similar to Lara if he carries on working hard."


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