MUMBAI, 21 JUNE: Among all the Indian captains he has played against, Sourav Ganguly is the “favourite” of Brian Lara as, he feels, his leadership against Australia was astonishing.
“Sourav is my favourite. His leadership against Australia in Australia was astonishing. I have great respect for him,” Lara said at a promotional event focused on leadership here last night.
He also praised Kapil Dev and “good friend” Sachin Tendulkar for their leadership qualities.
“In 1983, the West Indies were dominating the game and I thought it would be cakewalk for them in the World Cup final. So I went out to play – only to come back and know that India won, which was a surprise, and Kapil Dev as a leader had a big role to play,” he said. “Then there is my friend Sachin Tendulkar: what he has done for cricket can’t be repeated. His contribution to Indian cricket and world cricket is immeasurable,” he added. On Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s captaincy, Lara said: “I spoke to Dwayne Bravo about Dhoni, how he was as a leader while they played together for Chennai Super Kings. He told me one of his key strengths is that he is a great listener. Bravo told me about how he set himself goals but always looked for ideas and commitment from his players.”
Lara recalled he had used a coconut branch as his first bat. “My first bat was shaped out of a coconut branch by my brother. And from that day, all I wanted to do was to be a West Indian cricketer. I would play cricket in the yard and the team would feature boys honoured with such names as  (Gordon) Greenidge, (Desmond) Haynes and (Vivian) Richards. From a very early age, I saw myself as a West Indies cricketer and nothing else,” Lara said.
The Trinidadian said he would gladly have given his records away to be a part of the West Indies team that had dominated the sport in the 1970s and 1980s.
The former West Indies captain said he used to be most critical of himself when he was doing well and not when he was going through a lean patch.
Ponting praised
Australian captain Michael Clarke has paid tribute to the "amazing" Ricky Ponting after his former skipper announced his retirement from all forms of the game.
Ponting, one of the outstanding batsmen of his generation, announced on Thursday he would quit all professional cricket in October.
"He’s been an amazing player, there’s no doubt about it, and (he’s) done so much for the game of cricket," Clarke said on the Cricket Australia website.
Ponting, 38, had called time on his international career in December but continued to play in several domestic competitions, including the English County Championship, where he was currently appearing for Surrey. Ponting hit 192 on his Surrey debut this month, after having been named the c Sheffield Shield player of the year in March. It sparked talk that he should be called out of international retirement to play the Ashes series in England, with Australia struggling after a series of disciplinary incidents and a poor Champions Trophy campaign. But Clarke said he did not need Ponting back in the fold. "He retired from the Australian cricket team. We’ve got a new team here and we are looking forward to this series." Ponting said the time would be right to walk away completely after he turned out for Mumbai in the Champions League Twenty20 tournament in October. "While I’m enjoying my cricket as much as ever, it just feels like the right time to finish playing," he said on the Cricket Australia website. "My body and mind are in great shape and I know I’m going to really enjoy these last few months before the next stage of life begins."
PCB meeting
Even though Pakistan Cricket Board continues to function without a chairman, the process to build a new side for the 2015 World Cup apparently has started with the head coach Dav Whatmore meeting the national selectors to discuss the impending tours to West Indies and Zimbabwe.