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West Indies v England
Barbados, 21 April 2007

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The England team applauded Lara as he arrived at the crease
The England team applauded Lara as he arrived at the crease
West Indies captain Brian Lara was in emotional mood after defeat by England in his final international match.

England reached their target of 301 with one ball remaining in a dramatic end to one of the great careers.

Lara told the crowd: "I've had a tremendous time playing for the West Indies. All I ask is, did I entertain? If I entertained you, I'm happy.

"Things didn't quite work out today as planned, but maybe it was a fitting way to end my career - runs galore."

Lara refused to blame Marlon Samuels for the call which led to his run-out for just 18 in his final innings.

He said: "I was calm and I wanted to put an innings together. I wasn't going to play any rash shots, I was going to play each ball on its merit, but things didn't work out and I got run out. These things happen."

I've enjoyed every single minute of it

Brian Lara

"I'm really proud of the West Indies team and the fight we showed. Unfortunately we didn't get home today, but we showed great spirit throughout."

Lara said that his 277 against Australia at Sydney in 1993, his world record Test innings of 375 and 400 and winning the 2004 ICC Champions Trophy were his proudest moments.

But he admitted that the lack of success for the West Indies during much of his career remained a major disappointment.

He said: "When I was first playing cricket the West Indies were at the top in world cricket, and I always wanted us to stay at the top.

The Caribbean fans made their feelings known
The Caribbean fans came out to say goodbye to Lara

"But there was a decline, and we haven't managed to stop that over the last 10 or 12 years, and that's the most disappointing thing. I'm a team player and I want to see this West Indies team get back to the top."

Lara added: "I cam to the realisation some time ago that this was going to be my last game...I felt comfortable and as the day went on I knew I'd made the right decision.

"I knew it was the right time to call it a day and let the younger players take the West Indies forward - maybe we can see some change in the future.

"I want to thank everyone for all their support over the years - I've enjoyed every single minute of it."

The game also marked the end of West Indies team manager Clive Lloyd's time as an International Cricket Council match referee.

Lloyd, who captained the team to victory in the 1975 and 1979 World Cup finals, acted as referee in 53 Tests and 133 one-day internationals.

"Clive brought his own integrity and sense of fair play to his role as referee. He had the rare ability to forge good relations with the players and always managed to retain their respect," said ICC president Percy Sonn.

SEE ALSO
Lara - the great entertainer
20 Apr 07 |  West Indies
Legend Lara to end Windies career
19 Apr 07 |  West Indies
Fletcher to quit after World Cup
19 Apr 07 |  England


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