Lara eager to play star-studded game

Brian Lara will be playing alongside the other star players as a member of the All Stars team this weekend.

updated: October 28, 2007 07:14 IST
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Hong Kong:

Instead of facing famous adversaries like Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath, Anil Kumble and Heath Streak, West Indies legend Brian Lara will be playing alongside them as a member of the All Stars team this weekend.

"I am looking forward to that and I might have a chance to keep wickets to them as well, so I will be receiving a few deliveries from them," said a smiling Lara.

Playing long innings comes naturally to Lara, who holds the world record for individual scores in both Test and first class cricket.

So it was no surprise on Thursday when he made flight of having travelled across the globe from Port of Spain, Trinidad to Hong Kong for the Cathay Pacific/Standard Chartered Hong Kong Cricket Sixes.

Lara met the youngsters, who were looking forward to a clinic with the batting maestro.

Lara is not new to territory.

But it has been quite some time, actually 13 years, since he last played in the world's foremost Sixes competition, the shortest version of the game.

But this will be Lara's first return to a cricket field since his retirement from the international arena.

Lara was at a clinic with nearly 50 children Thursday morning just hours after his arrival.

While giving some batting lessons, he said, "I think it is awesome to have that experience and I see lots of talent in Hong Kong. Interacting with the kids, in whichever part of the world I go to, and to get the praise and applause from them was really good."

Also at the clinic were teammates Craig McMillan, Geraint Jones and Heath Streak plus Kiwi veterans Danny Morrison and Martin Crowe.

Lara, who had 11,953 Test runs to his name when he called it a day, added, "It will be good to finally have two of my nemeses in Shane and Glenn on the same team with me.

"It is going to be an exciting time, though, with all the other guys I have played against over the years. The Sixes is exciting stuff and since I retired, this is my first stint back on the cricket field, so I am looking forward to it."

Lara, often referred to as the 'Prince' played in Hong Kong in 1994, when he was 25 and the West Indies then won the Plate competition.

But those were the heady days, when in an amazing seven-week stretch, he scored 375 versus England and 501 versus Durham playing for Warwickshire to set world records for the highest scores in both Test and first-class cricket.

The Test record went to Mathew Hayden at 380, but then in 2004, Lara again hammered England in Antigua for 400 not out to get the record right back.

Kumble, Warne and McGrath are scheduled to arrive late on Thursday and they all figure in the All-Stars team, playing in the Sixes for the first time as part of a long-term plan to make the tournament one of the world's most exciting cricket championships.

Hong Kong's annual carnival of elite cricket, launched in 1992 and famed for its frenetic pace and high-scoring action, returns to the Kowloon Cricket Club Oct 27-28.

The event is already sold out, with tickets lasting less than a week after going on sale.

This year's event will feature eight leading cricketing nations, including defending champions South Africa, Australia, New Zealand Kiwis, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh, India and England, plus hosts Hong Kong and, for the first time, an All-Stars team.