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.”
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.
Had a great time at the @spektacom #PowerBat launch in the company of friends and partners. Excited to see the technology revolutionize the way fans engage with the game in time to come. #MicrosoftAI #IntelligentEdge @MicrosoftIndia @StarSportsIndia pic.twitter.com/rBcaq9h5ma— Anil Kumble (@anilkumble1074) October 11, 2018
“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.”
The Sport360 team is in place bringing you the latest cricket news on Friday.
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Read what the Pakistan legend had to say on the tournament here.
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Read what Sarfraz had to say on Yasir here.
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3:00pm – Joe Root unfazed by Sri Lanka’s mystery spin threat
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Read Root’s quotes in full here.
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Read more here.
1:00 pm – Thakur injured on debut
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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.