West Indian batting legend Brian Lara is not overtly disappointed with the IPL snub but said the franchisees missed the “broader picture” by not bidding for him in the recently held auction in Bangalore.
“I am not overtly disappointed. I understand that every franchisees have their reservations. But I think they may have missed the broader picture, because apart from my (cricketing) abilities, I bring along a lot of experience and knowledge of the game,” the 41—year—old Lara said on the sidelines of a cricket clinic at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium here today.
Lara, who retired from international cricket after the 2007 World Cup, found no takers when players went under the hammer for the fourth edition of the hugely popular league.
“Almost 75 per cent of the players in every IPL team are youngsters. But don’t worry, I would still come across, maybe next year,” Lara said.
The flamboyant left—hander revealed that playing the entire IPL season was not at the back of his mind.
“I really never wanted to get out there and compete for 19—20 games. Just wanted to be part of a good unit, attending meetings, training sessions and helping the youngsters,” he said.
Lara aside, heavyweights such as Chris Gayle, Sourav Ganguly and Ricky Ponting were also ignored by the Indian Premier League franchises.
“Players like Ricky Ponting and Michael Clarke (not part of the league), it’s a bit strange.”
Asked if he was keeping a tab on the auction, Lara answered in negative.
“Honestly, I didn’t pay much attention to IPL auction.
But one thing I like about IPL is, the private ownership. That’s the way cricket can compete with a sport like football.
“The World Cup is the biggest event in football, but it’s club football which is more popular. Look at clubs like Manchester United. Like club football, it will be good for football if leagues like the IPL and BigBash in Australia do well,” he said.
When asked about Sourav Ganguly, who too met with a similar fate, Lara said, “Missing out on IPL auction will not tarnish his image. He has done enough, and has been a great servant of Indian cricket, and has been a very good friend of mine.”
As discussions turned to the upcoming World Cup, Lara said as hosts, India will be under pressure.
“India will have to play very well. There is every chance that one of the Asian teams would win the Cup, and India being the number one side, they are one of the favourites.
“The likes of England, Australia and South Africa will also be pressing hard. South Africa are a very good team, they have been very consistent but they have a bit of World Cup bogey. So I would not put my money on them. And I really hope that West Indies also do well,” he said.
“In the sub—continent, you have to build the momentum.
Teams who get off to a slow start and pick up as the tournament progresses, you have to be afraid of those teams.
India will be expected to start on a high, carry on that and end it on a high again.”
Asked who would be the top five batsmen in the February 19—April 2 mega event, Lara’s pick was, “Sachin (Tendulkar), Jacques (Kallis), Michael Clarke, Kevin Pietersen and Chris Gayle.”
Lara was recently appointed adviser to the Zimbabwe national team, and asked about his new assignment and the team’s prospects in the World Cup, he said, “I hope that they spring a few surprises and qualify for the next stage. They have the talent but lack self belief, and I am going to try and build self belief and self esteem. They have just returned to Test cricket and the first series will be against the West Indies (in May).”
On the same day when he was not considered by any of the franchisees, Lara was dealt a huge blow when his childhood coach and mentor Joey Carew passed way.
In an emotional eulogy, Lara said, “He is a mentor of mine, he is like a father.”
“I have spent a lot of time at the Carew household. He has been a great influence on me. When my father passed away, he told me that ‘Brian you father told me to take care of you, so behave’,” Lara said.