West Indian batting legend Brian Lara says it is unfair to criticize Indian captain M.S. Dhoni because of the team’s failure in recent times.
“Every sportsperson goes through a bad phase. And, let us not forget some of the great wins India recorded under Dhoni’s leadership,” said the 46-year-old former captain on the sidelines of a promotional event here on Wednesday.
“I still believe India stands as clear favourite in home conditions though there will be pressure because of high expectations when it hosts the Twenty20 World Cup next year,” Lara said.
“This Indian team has some exciting players who can handle such pressure easily. And given the fact that they had won the 2011 World Cup (50 overs) at home, the host will be a major threat for many teams,” he said.
Reflecting on the West Indies team, a visibly dejected Lara said that it was not about an individual player or an official. “The problem is deep rooted. It has something to do with on the administrative front. And I don’t think one individual can make a difference to the fortunes of a team,” Lara said.
“Well, I would love to make the difference. But again, let us remember that there are many issues. The infrastructure is poor. There are problems on the administrative front. So, I am taking over as a coach or a mentor might not make any difference immediately. It has to be a collective effort from the grassroots level,” he said.
“Yes, on a personal front I am terribly disappointed with the low West Indian cricket had hit. But at the same time I am optimistic about a better future for the West Indies as it has always produced young talent over the years,” Lara said.
Looking at the Legends Twenty20 League to be held in US for which he along with the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Shane Warne are making a lot of efforts, Lara said it should be a wonderful stage for all the retired players to prove the point that they are still good and at the same time a brand of cricket which the fans should love it. “It is going to be competitive and exciting too,” he said.
Reflecting on his own career, Lara said he was honoured to play for the West Indies for 17 long years. “It is anybody’s dream to be in the playing eleven especially in an era which produced so many greats. I always enjoyed playing alongside some of the greatest cricketers,” he said.