India favourites for T20 World Cup: Lara

Hyderabad, Oct 14 (IANS) India playing at home is a very dangerous team and it will start as favourites in the T20 World Cup in India next year, former West Indian batsman Brain Lara said on Wednesday.

“An Indian team playing at home is a very dangerous team. They proved that by winning 50-over World Cup in India four or five years ago under (M.S.) Dhoni,” Lara said on the sidelines of an event here.

Lara was in Hyderabad for the launch of service of YuppTV, an internet based TV streaming service provider, in India.

Lara feels that India has got very exciting players.

“The guys are very versatile in their place. I expect them to start off as favourites. I know home pressure is always a possibility but I think the guys have grown a lot. I believe they have a very good chance in the World Cup,” said Lara.

Replying to a question on the West Indian cricket, he said their problem was deep rooted with pretty average infrastructure and poor administration.

He does not believe that as a mentor or coach he would be able to make any difference. “I don’t believe any one person can create magic at the top level and see different performances.”

The batting legend, however, said he would love to make a difference.

“If I was to involve with mentoring or coaching with the team, I don’t think there is going to be any big difference. Our problem is very deep rooted.

“Our infrastructure is pretty average. Administratively we are not doing a good job.”

Lara believes that that West Indies players are among the talented in the world, especially the teenagers.

“We in West Indies take very good talent and make it into mediocre talent,” he said, underlining the need for a mentor and a good administrator who can work in harmony with the players.

To another query, he said he never played for records.

“I may have a couple of records but I really did not go out to bat there for records. 12,000 runs were not important for me.”

Lara scored 11,953 runs in 131 tests in his career (1990-2006).

“I still believe that I enjoyed playing with the team that I played with. I am honoured to have played with West Indies cricket team for nearly 17 years.

“Playing for West Indies was a dream come true. I was 47 runs short of 12,000 runs but it was no milestone for me. West Indies needed a change and I decided to move to do something else with my life,” said the 46-year-old.

The former batsman said India was a place he loves.

He praised the passion of Indian players and referred to his ‘special friends’ like Sachin Tendulkar, V.V.S. Laxman, Rahul Dravid, Dhoni and Virat Kohli.

Lara, who shared the dais with actress Praneeti Chopra, said Bollywood movies were very popular in Trinidad and Tobago.

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