| Lara: Great average against Australia
Sydney: Steve Waugh has cautioned the World Cup champions to beware of a resurgent West Indies on the eve of the Australian team’s departure to the Caribbean.
The 37-year-old skipper is wary of what his team may encounter in the West Indies over the next two months.
The four-Test series and six one-day Internationals will challenge the stamina and mental strength of the players, with many already on the road for eight months during one of the longest campaigns in Australian cricket history.
Australia crushed the West Indies 5-0 when they last toured here in 2000-01, but Waugh will be gauging his team’s prospects from the last trip to the Caribbean in 1999. Australia drew the series 2-2 in Waugh’s first series as captain.
Brian Lara was outstanding in that series and averages almost 50 against Australia.
“He’ll certainly lift for an Australian series, he always does,” Waugh said on Sunday. “He was phenomenal last time we were there and, knowing him, he will want to play well against the best side in the world so he’ll definitely fire up.”
Waugh rates the West Indian batting highly and has pinpointed Marlon Samuels and Ramnaresh Sarwan as the important wickets to capture.
“They’re one of the few sides in world cricket which are on the up,” Waugh said.