Lara and Sarwan help Windies prepare for Indian encounter

Brian Lara, the former West Indies captain, has underlined the need for the team’s red-ball cricketers to work on their “mental approach” to the game, an aspect he himself “strongly” prepared for during his playing career. Lara’s views come two days prior to the start of West Indies’ two-Test home series against India, with both him and Ramnaresh Sarwan part of the side’s pre-series camp in Antigua.

“Where I feel I can make an impact is their mental approach to the game,” Lara said.”I feel as if I was to strike on one thing that I was decent at was mentally where I prepared myself strongly. The practical side is there for the young players but I feel mentally they can grow a little bit and learn a little bit more.”

Lara, 50, emphasised that the 2-1 series triumph against England at home earlier this year was an accomplishment that bodes well for the team heading into their first assignment in the World Test Championship.

“The performance against England to win a series at home, I think is the start of something really good for us. We must lay the foundation at home first before we travel abroad in foreign conditions to sort of take command of situations.”

Lara further said he was impressed with the “intensity”, skills-set and technical acumen of the current line of West Indies’ Test players, including the 13-man squad for the games against India, which he admitted did play a part in his decision to get involved.

“I decided to join the camp simply because I feel this present crop of West Indies players, especially in the Test arena, is the right group of players,” he said. “The talent that’s within is there.

“From what I’ve seen in the camp is intense practice which is good. I think the intensity I’ve seen in this camp is very good. The young players are working hard, Floyd Reifer (the head coach) and his team are actually putting things together pretty good.”

At the camp, Lara is understood to have shared his expertise with the players on several aspects of the game, while also passing on his knowledge to the Leeward Islands Hurricanes franchise team, who participated in the camp alongside the national team players.

“I’m hoping that I can impart some type of knowledge, some of my experiences in the past to the young batsmen especially that we have in the team to see if we can get a little bit more out of them because it’s necessary,” he said. “It’s a good group of young players, we just have to get them thinking in the right way.”