Lara’s praise for retiring bowlers
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