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Rediff.com  » Sports » Lara to play only if best team is selected

Lara to play only if best team is selected

March 22, 2005 18:07 IST

Former captain Brain Lara has says he is willing to continue in the national side provided the West Indies Cricket Board reconsideres the squad for the first Test against South Africa and selects the best team with an assurance from all of the parties.

The day before, the WICB said Lara was excluded because he neither accepted nor rejected the Board's invitation to be available for the first Test against South Africa in Guyana from March 31.

Lara proposed the six others become eligible for selection, but the Board dismissed the idea.

In a letter to Roger Braithwaite, Chief Executive Officer of West Indies Cricket Board, Lara said: "In the circumstances, where neither my loyalty to the players nor my loyalty to West Indies cricket can be denied, I confirm that I am ready, willing and able to continue participating in West Indies cricket, provided that, even at this late stage, the best team will be selected with an assurance from all of the parties that the outstanding issues would be brought to the table and discussed."

All seven were originally deemed ineligible because their endorsement contracts with Cable & Wireless conflicted with the WICB's official sponsor and telecommunications rival Digicel.

While Dwayne Bravo, Fidel Edwards, Chris Gayle, Ravi Rampaul, Ramnaresh Sarwan and Dwayne Smith were prohibited from playing, the Board lifted the ban on Lara because he signed his contract with the Board's consent.

"What I would like to see is the best team selected to compete in the forthcoming series. I would also like to see an amicable resolution to the outstanding issues in an atmosphere of mutual compromise and respect, which would all redound to uplifting the morale and pride of the West Indian people who are passionate about the sport," he wrote.

The exclusion of Lara, one of only five players to score more than 10,000 runs in Test history, was a major setback for the West Indies, which has fallen to third-to-last in the International Cricket Council rankings, above only Zimbabwe and Bangladesh.

Meanwhile, West Indies Players' Association president Dinanath Ramnarine said his group fully endorsed Lara's stand.

"WIPA strongly deprecates the manner in which the Board issued an invitation to Mr Brian Lara to make himself available for selection to the squad for the First Test match."

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