Cricket’s Lara hints at quitting

Brian Lara, the West Indies captain, has said that he could prolong his Test career till the age of 40, at the same time also indicating that his one-day career could end after the World Cup next year.

Lara, now 37, was speaking after two of Australia’s bowling spearheads – Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath – announced that they would quit Test cricket after the Ashes series concludes in Sydney. While McGrath will continue playing till the World Cup, the Sydney Test will be Warne’s last as an international player.

Lara admitted that one-day cricket was starting to take a toll on him, especially since taking over the captaincy. West Indies have just completed a gruelling tour of Asia – the DLF Cup tri-series in Malaysia, the Champions Trophy in India and the tour of Pakistan, which included three Tests and five one-dayers. Lara was at his devastating best in the Tests, scoring a double century at Multan, but his form dipped in the ODIs, compiling just 71 runs in four matches.

“I’m not sure how much one-day cricket I’ll be playing after the World Cup,” Lara said. “Hopefully we can win it and that would be a great way to go out. I don’t know if I’ll get to 40 but I want to play as long as I can. I still have the competitive spirit. My enthusiasm is still there. I know I still have some Tests ahead of me, and hopefully some more big innings.

“It [quitting one-day cricket] is looking that way. Since taking over the captaincy again, it has had an effect on me mentally and physically. A one-dayer is now as tough as playing two or three days of a Test match.”

Lara’s career coincided with the period in which West Indies were on the decline, and he admitted that he would be willing to relinquish his runs and records to be part of a world-beating unit.

“Unfortunately, my career has been through the declining years of West Indies cricket and at times it’s given me great sadness,” he said. “There is a sense of unfulfillment. To be honest, I would give up any runs, any record just to be a part of the current Australian cricket team or the West Indies team of the 1970s and 1980s.”