The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Lara holds the key to WI success: Harper

St. John’s (Antigua) : Star batsman Brian Lara holds the key to West Indies’ success at the World Cup in South Africa, coach Roger Harper said at the team’s two-week training camp in Antigua.

“Brian Lara is a world class player... That can really make that great a difference for us,” Harper said on Wednesday as the camp moved into its second week.

“If we perform with the same consistently high standard as we did in Asia and then Brian kicks in at the top of his game, we are really going to be a tremendous force to be reckoned with,” Harper said.

Lara, 33, returned to competitive cricket this month after recovering from a mystery illness that forced him out of action during September’s Champions Trophy.

Harper dismissed questions that Lara’s return could affect the chemistry of the young team.

“With Brian’s tremendous experience, his track record in all forms of the game ... His presence will only help to boost and inspire the team to better things,” he said.

Harper, whose three-year contract as coach expires at the end of the competition, also stressed on the importance of every match.

“Every game for us is going to be like a final,” he said. “On any given day we are capable of beating any team, and we are going to go out there and play with that belief.”

West Indies faces hosts South Africa in the tournament opener in Cape Town on February 9.

Scan for Samuels

Marlon Samuels, a member of the Cup squad, will fly to Jamaica this week for an MRI scan on his left knee, cricket officials here said on Wednesday.

Samuels, who is in Antigua for the team’s training camp, has been experiencing discomfort in his knee after undergoing surgery in February during the West Indies series in Pakistan, the regional cricket board said.

Thursday’s Tests were ordered as a precautionary measure.

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