SportsMax:- West Indies fast bowling legend Curtly Ambrose believes batting icon Brian Lara was in too much of a rush to claim the post of team captain, and went on to find the task tougher than he expected.
Having previously played under another bowling great, Courtney Walsh, Lara officially took charge of the West Indies team for the 1997-98 England tour of the Caribbean. The move was not without some controversy at the time, as some felt the then 28-year-old had been instrumental in forcing Walsh out of the post. Ambrose seems to have been among them.
“Brian Lara, to me, was too hasty to lead the West Indies team. We knew he was going to be the natural successor to Courtney Walsh because when Courtney Walsh became the captain he [Walsh] had a couple of years left in him and all Brian Lara had to do was just wait on his turn because Courtney was doing a fairly good job,” Ambrose told the Antigua Observer.
Walsh had taken over the post from Richie Richardson for the 1994-95 West Indies tour of India.
While in charge, the bowler went on to lead the team for 22 Test matches with a record of 6 wins 7 losses and 9 draws. In ODIs, where he led the team 43 times, the West Indies won 22 lost 20, with one no result.
Lara oversaw the team for 47 Test matches, where they won 10, lost 26 and drew 11. In ODIs he captained for 125 matches, winning 59, losing 59, with 7 no results.
“He was too anxious to be the captain and there was no competition because once Courtney left the scene he would have, but he realized it was not as easy as he probably thought. A lot of people were upset with him for that because he made it public that he wanted to be the captain. He campaigned for it and to me, it was disappointing,” he said.
Despite the team’s struggles, Lara performed well as captain individually, his 3725 runs and 5 centuries putting him 14th for most runs scored as a captain. In Tests, he ranks 8th with 4685 and 14 hundreds, including his record 400.