|Lara’s Cricket Tour bowls off tomorrow |
JOEL BAILEY Friday, February 17 2017
LEGENDARY Trinidad and Tobago and West Indies cricketer Brian Lara is hoping to influence as much of the nation’s youths as possible as he embarks on a nationwide campaign, dubbed “Brian Lara Island- wide Cricket Tour”, which will see the 47-year-old feature in matches at various communities throughout the twin-island republic.
The event was launched at the Barataria Oval yesterday and the multiple batting record-holder, while speaking to the media, noted, “I felt that today, what’s going on in Trinidad and Tobago, we need a little bit more positive energies coming out. If we can have an effect on two or three youngsters in any particular community, it would be wonderful.” The Barataria Oval will be the venue for the first match of Lara’s Cricket Tour, scheduled to take place tomorrow from 5 pm and will feature several past and present West Indies players.
“Dinanath Ramnarine wants to captain the second team so I believe he has earned that right, being an international player himself,” said Lara. “It’s going to be my team versus Dinas’. We’re going to share the international players that we have and the players the community brings in.” Among the international players slated to participate in the Cricket Tour are Darren Bravo, Kevon Cooper, Fidel Edwards (who all featured in a brief nets session at the Barataria venue yesterday), Ramnaresh Sarwan, Ricardo Powell, Philo Wallace, Rajendra Dhanraj and Lendl Simmons. Lara revealed, “I’m going to introduce a 13-yearold (Jacob Bethel). He’s coming in (today) from Barbados. He’s awesome. People say that I was batting like that when I was 13 - well I wished I did. You’ll get an opportunity to see him.” The ex-TT and West Indies captain admitted that the idea was conceptualised in January, during a T20 charity match in Barrackpore which also celebrated the 38th birthday of former TT and Windies cricketer Daren Ganga.
“I spoke to Daren about it and I felt that this is something that we can take to different communities around Trinidad and Tobago,” said Lara. “I started playing cricket at the age of six and, playing with Harvard Coaching Clinic, I would have visited a lot of different places around the country.
Since my international career started and ended, I’ve been far removed from those places.” Lara made it clear that this venture is not a publicity-seeking one, but one which will also highlight the state of sporting venues in various communities.
He said, “we’re at a huge facility for sport (in Barataria). We have San Juan Jabloteh (and) Barataria Ball Players (based) here. You look at the facility and it’s not what you’ll see in Australia, but still we’ve produced some of the best sportsmen in the world.
“It’s something that we want to do, bring to attention the respective people that are responsible for areas like this and see how we can help,” he continued.
“We may have a cricket match on Saturday but I think the follow- up is very important. What happens to the community? Hopefully we can get things moving in the right direction.” Lara, once dubbed ‘The Prince of Port of Spain’, admitted that he could not arrange a proper schedule for the Tour due to his regular travels abroad.
“I do plan to play every single month in a different community but it’s not a set plan.
My next idea was (March 3) in Tobago, to trap Dwight Yorke in Tobago, (where) we know he’ll be. It’s something we’re working towards. If that could be fulfilled, that would be another feather in our cap, in terms of getting a community out in Tobago as well,” he said.
Lara identified the sponsors for his initiative — Sports Company of Trinidad and Tobago, Salloum’s, Ram’s Logistics and Associated Brands Industries Limited.