|Event:||ICC World Cup 2006/07|
DateLine: 10th March 2007
West Indies captain Brian Lara acknowledges his side has a major problem to overcome if they are to fulfil their goal of becoming the first host nation to win the World Cup.
The 37-year-old Lara believes his side has to overcome the kind of catastrophic batting collapse that saw them dismissed for 85 in 25.5 overs in Friday's nine-wicket defeat to India in their final warm-up match at the Trelawny Multi-Purpose Stadium.
"You must give India credit because they put the ball in the right areas and they reaped the rewards for it," he said.
"We have to focus now on what we have to do, and there is a situation which I think is a bit chronic. We are prone to such collapses as we saw in this match.
"We have to refresh our memories now about how we got ourselves out of this situation the last time and do it. I wouldn't say we are down in the dumps yet because the tournament hasn't started, but if there was a good time for such a performance to take place, it's good that it happened before the tournament started.
"I think that is the positive we can take from it. I think we all know what we have to do to avoid such a situation again."
Lara admitted he is as shell-shocked as everyone else at the way his side folded after they chose to bat.
"The plan was simple - to occupy the crease for 50 overs and put up an unassailable total, but that did not happen," he said.
"We had a major collapse. I think it is pretty transparent what took place out there. We did not apply ourselves, and it had nothing to do with what was the team plan.
"We were like every other team. We were looking to bat 50 overs. We were looking at a particular target. But we never really got to any of them."
Lara dismissed notions that the pitch was too much in favour of the bowlers, and placed the blame for his side's demise to players failing to adjust to demands of different positions in the game.
"I don't at all think the pitch was bad," he said.
"I didn't foresee any situation in the middle overs. The guys need to understand their roles. There are two roles in a one-day international. If your team is doing well, you have to keep the momentum going, but if they are in a bad situation, you have to consolidate and bat out the 50 overs.
"We don't seem to be able to get the second part right when we are under pressure and this has to change."
With little time available to them before they face Pakistan in the opening match of the World Cup next Tuesday at Sabina Park in the Jamaica capital, the management of the West Indies decided to hold an unscheduled practice session about half-hour after the completion of Friday's no-contest.
(Article: Copyright © 2007 AFP)