Brian Lara, on the cusp of becoming the greatest run-scorer in Test cricket, laments that he is chasing personal glory in a losing West Indian cricket team.
The once-great Caribbean team is in the midst of a dreadful losing run and has only won two of its last 16 tests and the West Indian batting great bemoans that he would rather see his team winning than attaining personal glory.
He is just 12 runs away from surpassing Australian Allan Border’s 11-year Test record after he defied the Australian bowling attack to remain unconquered on 202 as the Windies went to stumps at 352 for seven on the opening day of the final test at Adelaide Oval today.
Lara has 11,163 runs and looks set to break the mark on tomorrow’s second day’s play.
“I am playing in a team that is trying, unfortunately we haven’t won many Test matches.
“If we ever turn the corner, I will be the happiest individual in the world because that’s what I really want to see, I think the talent is there,” the 36-year-old Trinidad left-hander said.
“There’s a general feeling within the camp to try and get us out of this rut and that will mean a lot to me, but what is going to be more important is to see the younger players trying to throw me off the top,” he said.
“I may be 36 but I remember playing with the Desmond Haynes and the Richie Richardsons, I knew they were great players but I wanted to be in the forefront and I wanted to be up there with them and even pass them in terms of aggregates for the series,” he said.
“I would like to see the younger players like Dwayne Bravo and Denesh Ramdin compete for the highest level as soon as possible,” Lara said.
He was given a standing ovation to the wicket and at day’s end in probably his last Test in Australia.
“I have a great history with Adelaide, I remember a groundsman telling me this morning that you average 60 plus today and make sure you do something about it today,” he said.
“I think there is a liking for myself and West Indian cricket, they want West Indian cricket to get back to where it belongs.
“Of course they love their country, but the enjoyment we have given them over the decades I think it is something they really appreciated and still do.”
Lara is constantly asked when he will call it a day in Test cricket and whether this will be his last tour of Australia.
“It’s such a long way away. I have certain milestones of a world cup in the West Indies in 2007, a lot of people are talking about that being my curtain-call,” he said.
“But a month or two later we’ve got Australia and there’s no more exciting team to play than Australia in the world and I’m sure they are going to be holding that position in two years’ time.
“To put a time line on it I really don’t know. I am slowing down in the one-day game and trying to get as much Test cricket out of myself as much as possible and working.
“I’ve always said if I’m a liability to the team then I’m going out the exit door.”