I've always been committed to ICL: Lara

Ending much speculation, Brian Lara finally touched down in India as the most high-profile recruit of the Indian Cricket League in Mumbai on Sunday.

updated: November 26, 2007 09:19 IST
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Ending much speculation, Brian Lara finally touched down in India as the most high-profile recruit of the Indian Cricket League in Mumbai on Sunday and proclaimed he was committed to play in the rebel tournament since June.

"I could not come earlier because of some personal things which needed to be sorted out, but have always been committed to play in the ICL after signing up in June," the West Indian cricket great said at the Western Railway stadium.

Lara's arrival in Mumbai to take part in the ICL has given a shot in the arm for the promoters of the rebel event which starts from November 30 at Chandigarh.

The former West Indies cricket captain emphasised that he was looking forward to playing alongside and against young Indian talent which he otherwise would not have been able to.

"I am looking forward to playing in the league with the Mumbai Champs team (which he would be leading). I would love to play alongside the young players from India who may not have had the opportunity to play with me and other international players," he said.

Lara hoped that some time in the future the ICL would get the nod from cricket establishments around the world similar to the West Indies Cricket Board's recognition now of the private league floated by Texas billionaire Alan Stanford.

"The reaction from the extablished cricket bodies was on expected lines but still I was disappointed," Lara said.

"The problems faced by the ICL are similar to those faced by Stanford when he came up with his idea in the West Indies which has now been accepted by the West Indies Cricket Board."

"The intentions are quite honourable and I hope down the line people (official cricket bodies) will understand what this League is about and accept it," he said.

Lara said he had nothing at present to do with the West Indies cricket establishment but did not rule out playing a role in his home region's cricket development.

"I am no longer connected with the West Indies board. I joined the ICL as I wanted to play cricket. But (in future) I want to give back (my knowledge) to West Indies cricket. When that time comes it will be handled properly," he said.

Lara welcomed the Twenty20 format of the game and said though cricket had been his bread and better he chose not to follow it on television except on the odd occasion like the World Twenty20 Cup final in Johannesburg on September 24.

"I don't generally watch cricket on television but was glued to the TV in the morning at home when I watched India take on Pakistan in the World Twenty20 final," he said.

"It's a very exciting game and is fun. It has given the authorities a chance to take the game to places not familiar with cricket.

"To me, and players like Sachin Tendulkar, Test cricket is the ultimate form of the game and I only hope Test cricket is not unduly affected (by the Twenty20 game)," he added.