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Last Updated: Monday, 5 March 2007, 09:56 GMT
Lara hoping for fitting farewell
Brian Lara
Lara is preparing for his fifth and final World Cup campaign
West Indies captain Brian Lara is confident he will not be overawed by the expectation of home supporters and his final World Cup campaign.

"I'm really happy I'm playing a World Cup in my home country, I've got 16 years of international experience so I don't think it's a burden," he said.

"We have played very good cricket over the last two years in the one-day arena and we're just looking forward to it.

"Everyone must make a contribution and the young ones have to come forward."

Lara, who could pass 300 one-day appearances during the tournament, insist that Australia should remain favourites, and is happy to let them have that tag.

"Australia deserves favoritism, that's something the West Indies team does not want to carry," said the charismatic left-hander, 38 in May.

"We do not want to be one of the front runners. We want to slowly get into our stride and surprise people coming to the end."

It's an opportunity for a lot of the youngsters around the world involved in this tournament to show their ability

Brian Lara

The Windies certainly caused a surprise when they emerged from nowhere to win the Champions Trophy in England in 2004, and they reached the final again in India late last year.

Success in the World Cup has eluded them in recent years, and in his four attempts at cricket's major one-day prize, Lara has progressed no further than the semi-finals in India in 1996.

The skipper is confident his young charges may rise to the occasion this time, however, with the support of their homeland.

"It's always a tournament where a youngster comes up and shows what he's made of," he commented.

"I think it's an opportunity for a lot of the youngsters around the world involved in this tournament to get an opportunity to show their ability and come forward.

"We've got quite a few and we're looking forward to them playing a major part.

"I've already told them that its not going to be a tournament won by the senior players or the experienced players, everyone's got to stake a claim for international recognition."

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