/ 21 April 2007

Lara ready for last hurrah

West Indies captain Brian Lara will play the last game of an illustrious international career on Saturday when his side take on England in the final World Cup Super Eights clash.

Lara, who holds the record for the top Test score (400 not out) and highest first-class knock (501 not out), retires after the match and will be given a huge reception at the Kensington Oval despite the hosts’ failure to reach the semifinals.

The left-hander seems determined to go out in style and it would be no surprise if he promoted himself to his old number three slot to give him time to make one final big century.

England coach Duncan Fletcher will also be bowing out on Saturday after eights years in charge. His resignation was announced on Thursday after England were knocked out of the World Cup following some dismal displays.

England captain Michael Vaughan is looking forward to the occasion even if there is nothing riding on the match.

”Lara has been an outstanding player, I’m sure it will add to the atmosphere in the ground. It should be a great spectacle,” he said. ”The pressure is off but we are desperate to win the game to give Fletch a farewell.”

Batsman Ramnaresh Sarwan is expected to replace Lara as captain and he will be keen to check out England ahead of the first Test between the sides starting on May 17 at Lord’s.

Former Sussex coach and England academy director Peter Moores will take over from Fletcher after Saturday’s match.

England may also choose to change their line-up with fringe players such as pace bowlers Stuart Broad and Liam Plunkett coming into contention.

Australia, New Zealand, Sri Lanka and South Africa have already qualified for next week’s semifinals. The seven-week World Cup finishes with the final in Barbados on April 28. — Reuters