West Indies cricket is 'missing' vital ingredient, according to great Brian Lara

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Legend of cricket: Brian Lara.

Brian Lara feels the West Indies are “missing” a key ingredient to become a stronger and more competitive nation in all formats of cricket, particularly Tests, but he insists it is down to the players and support staff to find out exactly what that is.

The legendary left-hander, who is widely considered as one of the best batsman to have graced the game, follows the fortunes of his beloved Caribbean team closely and was fixed at his TV set, in the UAE, watching day one of the second match against India unfold.

While he was suitably impressed with Roston Chase’s 98 not out and plenty more resolve from the Windies batting line-up in their first innings – a far cry from their humbling opening Test defeat – Lara insists more needs to be done to maximise what he acknowledges is plenty of talent in the ranks.

Speaking to Sport360 at the launch of the GEMS Heritage Cricket Cup, in which he was one of the star-studded guests, at the the GEMS Heritage Indian School in Dubai, the 49-year-old said: “What I sense is there’s something missing (with this team) and it shouldn’t be difficult to find because the talent is there.

“The guys have the ability to play good cricket but they are missing something. Is it that mental edge? The coaches? The plan moving forward? Each individual needs to understand what their abilities are and they’ve got to have that drive and passion to be the best.”

“Ultimately, it’s all down to the staff and planning to get the best out of the group,” Lara said of his nation, who have struggled to qualify for the ICC 2019 World Cup and languish eighth, ninth and seventh in the current Test, ODI and T20 international rankings, respectively.

Since retiring from the game in 2007, the Trinidad-born star has been busy enjoying life after cricket and hasn’t been directly involved with the West Indies Cricket Board in a coaching capacity, though he did have a role as mentor-coach for Kerala Kings during last year’s inaugural T10 League competition in the Emirates.

While he did not declare any such plans to join the Windies coaching ranks in the near future, Lara – a veteran of 131 Tests and 299 ODIs – does believe he could help talented players from the Caribbean islands flourish, particularly with the mental side of the game.

“You don’t get to play international cricket just by fluke but to stay at that level and raise it further, it comes down to your mentality and how strong you are mentally,” he said.

“You’ve got to be prepared to work really hard and grind things out.

“I’d really love to get more involved with that side of the game and help players.”

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Anil Kumble's start-up launches batting performance tracking device

Sudhir Gupta 12/10/2018
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Anil Kumble and the latest innovation in cricket. Image - Microsoft India/Twitter.

Former India leg-spinner Anil Kumble’s start-up Spektacom on Thursday launched the ‘Power Bat’ in collaboration with technology giants Microsoft.

The unique batting performance tracking device is powered by Microsoft’s Azure Cloud platform along with its Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT) services. It can provide real-time data on a batsman’s performance.

The Power Bat uses parameters such as speed of the ball on impact, twist on impact and the quality of the shot to provide real-time data for analytics. Broadcaster Star India has come on board with the project too to enhance the digital reach and fan engagement.

“Our vision is to bring sports closer to fans through interesting ways of engagement using real-time sports analytics. At the same time, it is important that the technologies used are seamless and do not disrupt the game or obstruct the players,” Kumble was quoted as say by IANS.

“With Microsoft, we have been able to create a secure and effective solution, and with Star India, we have a partner that can stimulate and excite fan engagement,” the former India coach added.

“We’re partnering with Spektacom to bring real-time insights and new experiences to cricket fans and players alike, completely changing the way they experience the sport,” Microsoft Executive Vice President Peggy Johnson said.

“By leveraging Azure, its AI and IoT services, Spektacom can deliver details on player performance, which can be used in everything from scouting to training as well as improving the fan experience.”

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Live Cricket Blog: Imam-ul-Haq injury opens door for Fakhar Zaman

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Catch all the latest happenings in the world of cricket.

The Sport360 team is in place bringing you the latest cricket news on Friday.

As ever, get in touch with us throughout the day on Twitter and Facebook.

6:00pm – Imam-ul-Haq injury opens door for Fakhar Zaman

Pakistan opener Imam-ul-Haq’s finger injury has come at a terrible time for Sarfraz Ahmed after his team failed to clinch victory in the Dubai Test against Australia.

However, his injury means sidelined opener Fakhar Zaman is in contention to play his maiden Test.

Read more on how Imam’s injury could be a blessing in  disguise for Fakhar here.

Pakistan batsman Imam-ul-Haq fractured his finger while fielding.

Pakistan batsman Imam-ul-Haq fractured his finger while fielding.

5:30pm – Mujeeb Ur Rahman signs for Brisbane Heat

Afghanistan spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman’s meteoric rise in the world of cricket shows no signs of stopping anytime soon after he was signed by Big Bash League (BBL) outfit Brisbane Heat for the 2018-19 season.

The 17-year-old spin prodigy has become the outfit’s second overseas player for the season after New Zealand’s Brendon McCullum.

Read more on this breaking story here.

Mujeeb Ur Rahman continues to go places.

Mujeeb Ur Rahman continues to go places.

5:00pm – Time for Sarfraz Ahmed to cut down on workload

Sarfraz Ahmed is under pressure. He has been for some time now. It started when Pakistan lost their ‘home’ Test series to Sri Lanka in the UAE 2-0 in the absence of veteran batsmen Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan.

They were then blanked 5-0 in the ODI series in New Zealand earlier in the year before they fought back to draw the Test series in England. However, in two major assignments in their UAE home since, Pakistan have not been at their best.

Our man Ajit Vijaykumar delves into why it could prove a blessing for Sarfraz to cut down on his workload. You can read his analysis here.

Sarfraz Ahmed after the Dubai Test.

Sarfraz Ahmed after the Dubai Test.

4:45pm – Waqar Younis predicts bright future for Abu Dhabi T20

Former Pakistan coach and captain Waqar Younis predicts a bright future for the Abu Dhabi T20, saying it has the potential to become a mega event on the cricketing calendar.

The inaugural competition, which saw different sides from around the globe descend on the UAE capital, ended with Pakistan Super League franchise Lahore Qalandars being crowned champions.

Read what the Pakistan legend had to say on the tournament here.

Lahore Qalandars were crowned champions of the inaugural edition.

Lahore Qalandars were crowned champions of the inaugural edition.

4:30pm – Sarfraz Ahmed backs Yasir Shah to bounce back

Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed has backed Yasir Shah to be more lethal with the ball after enduring a difficult Test in the drawn match against Australia.

Yasir returned to the five-day game for the first time in a year after recovering from a hip injury but the leg-spinner, identified by many to play a decisive role in the series, wasn’t at his best.

Read what Sarfraz had to say on Yasir here.

Yasir Shah took four wickets on the final day

Yasir Shah took four wickets on the final day

4:00pm – Roston Chase leads West Indies fightback in Hyderabad

The opening day of the second Test between India and West Indies at Hyderabad has drawn to a close and the visitors have something to smile about after a spirited fightback. The Windies were 113-5 before a special effort from Roston Chase7. helped them end the day at 295-7. Chase remained unbeaten on 98 as Kuldeep Yadav and Umesh Yadav shared six wickets between themselves.

Read more about the day’s play in our talking points here. We also took a closer look at Umesh Yadav’s bowling display on the first day. You can read more on that here.

Umesh struck at crucial times for India. Image - BCCI/Twitter.

Umesh struck at crucial times for India. Image – BCCI/Twitter.

3:00pm – Joe Root unfazed by Sri Lanka’s mystery spin threat

Joe Root claims England are ready to banish the notion they are vulnerable against ‘mystery spin’ by taming Sri Lanka in their own conditions.

England have long been seen as a soft touch for top spinners and weak on turning conditions in the sub-continent, a reputation which was fairly earned over the years.

Read Root’s quotes in full here.

Jason Roy and Joe Root (r) in Dambulla.

Jason Roy and Joe Root (r) in Dambulla.

12:30 pm – Pitch invasion on opening day of second Test

kohli

There was yet another security breach during the India-West Indies Test series with a fan invading the pitch on the opening day of the Hyderabad Test.

A fan ran on to the pitch and tried to take a selfie with India captain Virat Kohli before attempting to kiss the Indian captain on Friday.

Read more here.

1:00 pm – Thakur injured on debut

Shardul Thakur made his Test debut. Image: BCCI/Twitter.

Shardul Thakur made his Test debut. Image: BCCI/Twitter.

India fast bowler Shardul Thakur had a disastrous Test debut as he walked off the field after bowling just 1.4 overs in the second Test against the West Indies in Hyderabad on Friday.

For more click here.

09:00am – It was business as usual for Khawaja

Usman Khawaja revealed he went into the final day with the same batting approach as his century helped Australia salvage a thrilling draw in the first Test against Pakistan.

“I was batting like any other innings,” he said. “I wasn’t worried whether it was the fourth innings or saving the match.”

Read the full story here.

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