Sports, Cricket

Lara hopes to boost Windies on return to scene of big century

Published : 04 Feb 2023 08:43 PM | Updated : 04 Feb 2023 08:43 PM

West Indies cricket legend Brian Lara has fond memories of the southwestern Zimbabwe city of Bulawayo where he scored 191 in a Test innings 20 years ago.

The 53-year-old was back at the Queens Sports Club, the scene of his 203-ball knock, this week in a new role as West Indies performance mentor.

His maiden mission is to assist the West Indies in a two-Test series from Saturday against Zimbabwe, a country they have faced 10 times in the longest format, winning seven and drawing three.

Once a powerful force in international cricket, the Windies have fallen on hard times, with a first-round exit from the Twenty20 World Cup in Australia last year the latest setback.

Lara, whose unbeaten 400 against England in 2004 remains the highest individual Test score, was part of a three-man panel that recently reviewed the multi-nation team's woes.

The panel pinpointed the financial lure of T20 franchise cricket, saying some West Indies stars were putting it ahead of international duty.

The warning was stark: West Indies cricket may "cease to exist" unless the issue of its top players prioritising global T20 leagues over international calls-up is resolved.