|Event:||West Indies in Pakistan 2006/07|
DateLine: 10th November 2006
West Indies cpatain and record-setting batsman Brian Lara has admitted in a Cricinfo interview that the one thing missing from his career is West Indian success.
Lara holds the world record for most runs in a Test innings with 400 not out against England in 2004, while his 501 not out against Durham is also a first-class record.
With five months to go before the start of the Cricket World Cup in the Windies, Lara said he would give up all his personal accolades if it meant seeing West Indies return to the top echelons of cricket.
There have been a few signs of that in recent times after years of slump as the Windies reached the last two Champions Trophy finals, winning the first and missing out to Australia in the latest.
Although the Windies reached the Champions Trophy final earlier this month and entered the competition as holders, they still had to qualify as they were ranked outside the world's top six one-day nations.
And that, rather than winning trophies, is what Lara is most keen to change.
"I'd give anything, any of my records, just to be a part of a team that's ranked in the top two or three in the world," he said in the Cricinfo magazine November edition.
"That's what it's all about. It's a team sport and you can't go out there and bat without someone at the other end. You can't bowl and not depend on your fielders."
West Indies are about to play Pakistan in a test series but have won only one of their last 14 Tests.
"I'd have loved to have experienced a better ride during my career, but to each his own," added Lara.
"West Indies had a very successful period in the late 70s, 80s and early 90s but that came to an end and now we have to go through this rough period."
But it has not been all gloom for Lara.
"For me to be part of it still means that I'm part of history. Just the fact that I've played for West Indies for so long is, to me, a lifelong dream come true."
But Lara is an outspoken critic of cricket organisation in the West Indies and he has had his fair share of run-ins with West Indies Cricket Board (WICB).
The Windies have a poor disciplinary record and that is one area where Lara blames the WICB.
"It can stem not just from the players, it can stem from deep-rooted problems in the administration.
"I don't think you'd see an indisciplined team if you have a disciplined board. If you have a disciplined board, they would know exactly what they want from their players.
"You need to see the whole spiral, where it starts from. We still produce some very talented players."
(Article: Copyright © 2006 AFP)