The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Brian Lara is hungry for more
- West Indies genius says he was fed up with cricket at one point and wanted to quit

London: Brian Lara has put the rival bowlers on notice saying he is feeling like a teenager again and is raring to give cricket his 100 per cent.

Lara has moved from the time when he felt cricket was “ruining his game” and now wants to stay fit for the 2007 World Cup which West Indies will host.

The 32-year great left-handed bat admitted in an interview to The Mail on Sunday that he had been “close to hell” in his personal and professional life and at one time wanted to run away from it all.

But his plans have changed now as is evident from the fact that he has surged to the No. 1 spot in official Test ratings.

“In the past I often reacted to what I perceived to be the stresses of cricket by getting away from it and hanging out with friends. Instead of confronting problems, I would turn my back on them.

“Now I’ve realised I want to give cricket 100 per cent,” he said. “I want to talk cricket like I did as a teenager, like the time I tried to sit Viv Richards down in the dressing room on my first tour to England and got told off for my trouble,” said Lara, who was in London with girlfriend Lei during a brief stopover on his way back home.

Expressing his determination to stay on the right path for some considerable time to come, Lara said: “I still have goals. I still want to look up and see my name but my main aim now is that I want to see the West Indies moving on.”

Lara said when he does hang up his boots he would like to leave behind a team which is capable of beating the best.

“It’s great on the one hand to be doing what’s necessary to represent my talent, but the bigger picture of wanting to do well is that, on my exit, we’ll have a team capable of challenging the best.” Lara is not only looking only ahead at the series against England but also at the World Cup in 2007.

“I’m looking forward to the two series with England next year and beyond. I’m having fun and a good group of younger players is really developing now.

“As long as things continue to go well for me when the World Cup comes to the Caribbean in 2007, a fit Brian Lara just looking on is not something I would want to happen.”

Recalling the stresses and strains he had undergone in his relationships in the past, Lara said: “Sure, the relationship has been stormy at times. There have been some rocky moments. I’ve made some small mistakes and I’ve made some big mistakes.

“There have been times, like when I quit the captaincy or when we were being taken apart in Australia on the last tour there, when I asked myself ‘do I need all this'’ when I felt I wanted to just run away from it all.

“But right now, as far as my cricket is concerned, I am back in love with it. I’ve gone through a great learning experience and come out of it all a more mature and tolerant person,” he said.

“It has been a long road back but what I have come to realise is that I am in a much better mood when I give the game my all. When the pressure was at its greatest I used to tell myself something which has haunted me ever since. I used to say: “Cricket has ruined my life.”

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