Lara’s praise for re­tir­ing bowlers

Townsville Bulletin - - Ashes -

WEST In­dian bat­ting great Brian Lara re­turned the com­pli­ment yes­ter­day, de­scrib­ing Aus­tralians Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath as two of his tough­est op­po­nents.

Lara, in Aus­tralia for a work­ing hol­i­day, was at the MCG to see an Ashes Test live for the first time.

He watched his old friend Warne take 5-39, less than a weekafter an­nounc­ing his im­pend­ing re­tire­ment.

McGrath also an­nounced three days ago that this Test se­ries would be his last.

When asked to name the tough­est bats­men they had bowled to, Warne and McGrath nom­i­nated Lara and In­dian run ma­chine Sachin Ten­dulkar.

‘‘Shane Warne is def­i­nitely the best spin­ner I have played against,’’ Lara said.

‘‘I’ve faced more dif­fi­cult spin­ners, but when I’m defin­ing the best I’m talk­ing about some­one who, even though you’ve gained con­fi­dence . . . he is still ca­pa­ble of pro­duc­ing a magic de­liv­ery.

‘‘He is some­one who’s never lost con­fi­dence.

‘‘I thought maybe he had a cou­ple of years left, not just for Aus­tralian cricket but for world cricket, but I’m sure he’s had very, very good rea­sons.’’

Lara praised McGrath for his con­sis­tency, say­ing he never changed his suc­cess­ful game plan re­gard­less of the sit­u­a­tion in the match.

‘‘Glenn McGrath is def­i­nitely up there with the best fast bowlers I have faced — no great reliance on pace, just re­lent­less in terms of line and length,’’ he said.

‘‘He’s some­one you don’t want to face if you’re out of form — you’ve got no chance.’’

Lara will also at­tend the fifth Test in Syd­ney dur­ing his trip, which is partly on be­half of Trinidad-based com­pany An­gos­tura Bit­ters Ltd.

‘‘Coin­ci­den­tally, two of the great­est play­ers in the world are call­ing it quits and I’m just happy to be see­ing their last few Test days,’’ he said.

Lara has in­di­cated he

will cut backon his one-day com­mit­ments af­ter next year’s World Cup in his home re­gion.

But first he is de­ter­mined to help the West Indies win the tour­na­ment for a sec­ond time.

‘‘It’s go­ing to be a great oc- ca­sion, not just on the cricket field,’’ he said.

‘‘A lot of the is­lands are tourism-based . . . we are hop­ing that it’s go­ing to (mean) a grow­ing re­la­tion­ship.

‘‘Home teams don’t have a re­ally good record (in the Cup).

‘‘We feel that it’s not go­ing to be a hin­drance — the crowd is def­i­nitely go­ing to be be­hind us and the ex­pec­ta­tion is go­ing to be great.

‘‘We have a very ex­cit­ing team and a team that wants to do well.’’

COM­PLI­MENTS . . . West In­dian bat­ting leg­end Brian Lara says Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath were two of his tough­est op­po­nents

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