The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Sachin all set to fire against NZ
- Lara thanks Australians for the transformation of the young West Indies

Chennai: While a “completely fit” Sachin Tendulkar is looking ahead to the series against New Zealand later this year, West Indian captain Brian Lara feels Australia had a key role in the recent Caribbean improvement.

Sachin, along with Lara and Steve Waugh, were in Chennai Friday for the launching of the MRF go-karting national championship.

Sachin, who was in the US recently for an operation of his injured finger, said: “I was out of action for about two and a half months. But I have fully recovered following the operation.

“I am looking forward to play competitive cricket,” he added.

The Little Master said he would prefer to continue batting at his favourite No. 4 position against New Zealand, though “it will depend entirely on the decision of the captain and the team management”.

When asked whether Ajay Jadeja should be allowed to play international cricket again, he said: “It is for the BCCI and the player to decide.”

Meanwhile, Lara conceded his young side had improved considerably playing the Aussies.

“Playing against Australia has improved our players. We lost both the Test and one-day series against them, but we learnt a lot from them. They are a champion side,” said Lara, who has scored 8,404 runs with 21 centuries in 96 Tests.

The young West Indies team achieved the incredible in the fourth Test of the series in Antigua when they chased a world record 418 in the fourth innings to win the match. West Indies then won the last three one-dayers against the World Cup champions, but lost the series 3-4.

Lara’s new-look side fared better against Sri Lanka, clinching the two-Test series 1-0 last month.

“We’ve a good crop of youngsters in the team,” he said. “It’s good to have young players around you. They are inexperienced, but talented. Our side is improving.”

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