Lara back in action

Cricketing legend Brian Lara.

Port of Spain – Cricketing legend Brian Lara says he is is taking this weekend’s “Twenty20 for 50” cricket festival very serious. Lara will captain the Brian Lara All-Stars in the quadrangular competition, which also features Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica and a Daren Ganga All-Star team.

After an intense session in the nets yesterday, Lara told the media that if he must come out of retirement to play a competitive match, he will play to win.

“I think we’ve selected a team that’s capable of winning,” the former West Indies batting maestro said.

“They’ve been doing well in their preparations leading up to it. But I’ve got a good few players, Herschelle Gibbs, Fidel Edwards is back in my team, Pedro Collins. So I have a good group, [and] for us it’s not going to be festivities.”

Lara has been training since July when he was invited to the competition, which will also serve as a series of practice matches for T&T in their preparations for the upcoming Champions League in South Africa. The tournament starts tomorrow, and the squads were named today.

Lara admitted it was not an easy task for him to jump back into the game, but he was hoping to get some numbers running next to his name on the scoreboard.

“I’m very comfortable,” he said. “Obviously at 43 it’s tough, I’m not going to put any great expectations out there but as a team, we’re going to play to win. And if I can play a part that will be cool.”

For former Trinidad and Tobago skipper Daren Ganga, who led T&T to the Champions League final in 2009, there is additional motivation when their first match bowls off – a berth in the T&T squad to South Africa.

Ganga said: “I’ve been training with the national team in preparation for Champions League, that team hasn’t been selected, so this is a trial, a showing, so to speak, before they make that final selection. So I’m looking forward to good performances as a batter, to lead my team to the finals, and probably to this title.” Ganga himself is keen to see Lara return to the pitch, and revealed that Lara has a “funny feeling” that one of the all star teams will win the mini- tournament.

“[T&T captain] Denesh (Ramdin) and Tamar (Lambert, Jamaica’s skipper) must be worried because Brian really wants to send a message. This is probably the last time he’s going to be playing in a competitive sort of environment in Trinidad.So it’s a rare opportunity, I’m excited about him coming back.”

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