West Indies batting great Brian Lara predicted either India or Pakistan,because of their batting depth and ability to innovate,will lift the ICC World Twenty20 title in England later in 2009.
The former West Indies captain displayed the trophy to a packed house at the Queen’s Park Oval during the interval of the Twenty20 International between the West Indies and admitted it was tough to pick a side that might do the same on June 21 June at Lord’s,England.
But if he had to choose a likely winner,the batting legend said India and Pakistan — finalists in the inaugural event in 2007 — might be the ones to look out for.
“In 2007 I supported the West Indies (to win) due to the fact that,as a team,we may have been short in Test cricket but very good over a shorter game and twenty20 was a version of the game,with players like Chris Gayle,Ramnaresh Sarwan and Dwayne Bravo,I thought we would love. But then Bangladesh came and beat us and we didn’t win a match so that shows how difficult it is to predict.
“A team like India or Pakistan,accustomed to good batting tracks,flat tracks and capable of being very innovative could be the ones to walk away with the trophy,” said Lara.
Holder of the highest score in international history thanks to his 400 not out in a Test against England in Antigua in 2004,Lara said he still loved Test cricket above all the other formats of the game but felt there was an obvious place for the Twenty20 version.
“I’m still a connoisseur of Test cricket as the true test of any sportsman. But I think Twenty20 cricket is a great invention,especially for the spectator. It’s a great addition to the game and I look forward to seeing the ICC World Twenty20,” said the elegant left-hander.
The ICC World Twenty20 will feature 12 of the top men’s teams and the top eight women’s teams competing in a best-of-the-best event at four venues – Lord’s,The Oval,Trent Bridge and Taunton (women’s matches only).
Each of the men’s and women’s semi-finals and the finals will be played as double-headers at the same venues offering great value to spectators and great exposure to the women’s game.