Lara says India challenge could bring the best out of West Indies; looks forward to “good things” from newcomers McKenzie, Athanaze

By July 08, 2023
Brian Lara talking to West Indies fast bowler, Kemar Roach. Brian Lara talking to West Indies fast bowler, Kemar Roach.

West Indies great, Brian Lara, believes India can bring the best out of the West Indies when they square off in a two-match Test series beginning on July 12 in Dominica.

“It’s a young group, ably led by Kraigg Brathwaite, of course, but I feel like some of the guys can really come into their own in this series,” Lara, who is with the team as a performance mentor, said in a CWI interview on Saturday.

“It’s a tough opposition but I believe that’s the way we can get the best out of them,” he added.

The West Indian selectors have started to look to the future in the batting department with the selections of 22-year-old Kirk McKenzie and 24-year-old Alick Athanaze.

Jamaica’s McKenzie earned his selection on the back of some good performances in the inaugural Headley Weekes Tri-Series and in a subsequent A-team tour of Bangladesh.

He had scores of 221 and 50 in the Headley Weekes series and followed those up with scores of 91 and 86 against Bangladesh A.

Athanaze captained the Windward Islands Volcanoes in this season’s West Indies Championship and scored 647 runs in five matches at an average of 64.70 with a pair of hundreds and four fifties.

“They’re both young, capable players. Of course, you’d hope they had a little more experience in the first-class arena but, looking at their style of play and their attitude, I believe they do have what it takes to perform at the highest level,” Lara said.

“It may take some time but, obviously, as an international cricketer, if you’re entering this stage it doesn’t matter what age you enter; you’ve got to learn very quickly and I think they have that sort of attitude to want to learn and be willing to listen. I look forward to good things in the future,” he added.

These matches will mark the start of the 2023-25 ICC World Test Championship cycle for both teams.

“Obviously, we’ve got two very important Test matches against India that start the two-year cycle for us. We know, whether it’s at home or away from home, they’re one of the top teams in the world,” Lara said.

“I think the guys are moving in the right direction in terms of where we started the camp and where we are at this present moment only a few days out from the first Test match in Dominica,” he added.

The two teams had very different results in the 2021-23 cycle. India, currently the top-ranked Test team in the world, finished the cycle second behind Australia, who they recently lost to in the World Test Championship Final.

On the other hand, the West Indies ended the cycle in eighth, only finishing ahead of Bangladesh.






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