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Last Updated: Tuesday, 16 May 2006, 12:24 GMT 13:24 UK
Lara upbeat about India challenge
Brian Lara
Lara is determined to extend his team's winning run
West Indies skipper Brian Lara expects his side will push India hard in the best of five one-day series, which starts in Jamaica on Thursday.

They are fresh from a 5-0 victory over Zimbabwe in Lara's first series since being appointed captain fore the third time in his career.

"Winning is contagious," the 37-year-old batting star commented.

Carlton Baugh retains his spot as wicket-keeper in a 14-man squad for the first two matches in the series.

Jamaican Baugh kept out Trinidad and Tobago's Denesh Ramdin after replacing him for the last two ODIs against Zimbabwe. Lara said: "The confidence of the guys is very high and we're going to go into the games really feeling positive."

He did acknowledge that India were a far stronger side than the Zimbabweans.

But he said: "I don't see any reason to be pessmistic about the future. If the guys keep up the performances, we're going to be very competitive and can win the series.

"India have played good cricket over the last 10 or 12 months. (Rahul) Dravid seems to be moulding his team into a very forceful unit and they have done better in the one-dayers than the Tests.

India will be much tougher than Zimbabwe
Shiv Chanderpaul

"They would think their one-day game is a little bit better (than ours) so we've got to counteract that, try to get a series win and set them back going into the Test series."

Lara was delighted by the form of his predecessor, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, who made 238 runs against Zimbabwe at an average of 59.

And Chanderpaul himself admitted the last few months, culminating in the loss of the captaincy, had been "pretty tough".

He said: "It was nice to come out here and focus on my own game.

"I still think there's a lot more work to be done batting-wise. Yes, I've got some runs, but India will be much tougher than Zimbabwe."

West Indies squad for first two ODIs against India: Brian Lara (captain), Christopher Gayle, Runako Morton, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Marlon Samuels, Dwayne Smith, Carlton Baugh Jr (wkt), Corey Collymore, Fidel Edwards, Jerome Taylor, Ian Bradshaw, Dwayne Bravo and Dave Mohammed.


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