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West Indies legend Lara retires

West Indies captain Brian Lara announced his retirement from international cricket today, ending a record-breaking career as a batsman.

Lara said his last match for the West Indies would be tomorrow's World Cup match against England at the Kensington Oval.

"I've given this extensive consideration and on Saturday I will be bidding farewell to international cricket as a player," Lara told a news conference after West Indies beat Bangladesh by 99 runs in a Super Eights match overnight.

"I've already spoken to the board and to my players," he said before leaving the conference.

The 37-year-old Trinidadian holds the record for the highest test score (400 not out) and highest first-class innings (501 not out).

He is also the leading run scorer in tests with 11,953 from 131 matches. In one-day internationals he amassed 10,387 runs from 298 games.

Lara had already announced he was quitting one day internationals at the end of the World Cup but had been expected to lead the side in a Test series against England which begins in May.

During an emotional press conference, where Lara reflected on his career, he indicated that he had been frustrated as captain during the team's disappointing World Cup campaign.

Lara is expected to be replaced by Ramnaresh Sarwan as skipper and asked if he felt that would be the right choice he said: "Whoever takes over the team, I think it is important that they get the support, what you see in the surface isn't everything.

"You have got to get the support from the very beginning and a wholehearted support from the board, from the selectors, from the team from everyone, for the captain to feel comfortable in the position."

When asked if he felt he had not received such wholehearted support, Lara replied: "It is not the time for that sort of criticism, it is done and gone and spilt milk. We have just got to move on and focus on Saturday and West Indies cricket in the future."

Before making his surprise announcement Lara had been asked to reflect on how he would like to be remembered as a player.

"I just want to be remembered as someone who went out there and tried to entertain - it is a sport where people pay to come through the turnstiles and watch you and it is most important that someone can leave and say they have enjoyed watching Brian Lara play and enjoyed watching West Indies play.

"Another thing I am really proud of myself for is that I have been knocked down so many times as a player, as a person, and it is that strength, that I suppose comes from my parents, to be able to pick myself up each time and go out there in the face of adversity.

"That is something that I didn't read in a book or wake up in the morning with, it is deep down and it is a part of my family trait."

source - thewest.com.au
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