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Last Updated: Friday, 20 April 2007, 10:39 GMT 11:39 UK
Former greats hail outgoing Lara
Brian Lara
He has been the standard-bearer for the last 10 years, almost single-handedly

Jimmy Adams on Lara
A host of former West Indies greats have paid tribute to Brian Lara after the batsman revealed he was retiring.

The record-setting left-hander says Saturday's World Cup match against England will be his last, ending a 17-year career at the top level.

"I am lost for words," said former fast bowling great Wes Hall. "His legacy is fantastic, he was a great batsman."

Hall's new-ball partner Charlie Griffith added: "A lot of players will have to work hard to fill his shoes."


Trinidadian Lara holds the world records for Test and first-class scores, smashing an unbeaten 400 against England in 2004 and an unbeaten 501 for Warwickshire against Durham in the County Championship in 1994.

He is the highest scorer in Tests with 11,953 runs in 131 matches, including 34 centuries, and is the fifth-highest in one-dayers with 10,387 in 287 games.

Former opener and team-mate of Lara, Philo Wallace said his retirement would be "a big loss to world cricket", while former Windies captain Jimmy Adams hailed Lara as a "genius".

"His value to West Indian cricket has been enormous," he said. "He has been the standard-bearer for the last 10 years, almost single-handedly.

A captain can only by judged by his record and that's not good in his case.

Joel Garner on Lara

"He has carried a hell of a load on his shoulders over that period and yet his statistics are just phenomenal."

However, the tributes were tinged with regret, for some, over his failures as captain of a declining team.

Lara's only meaningful piece of silverware as national skipper came with the 2004 ICC Champions Trophy and, following another premature exit at this year's World Cup, former fast bowler Michael Holding said: "He stayed on longer than he should have.

"Now it is time to thank him and look forward."

Those sentiments were echoed by Holding's team-mate Joel Garner, who said: "It is his decision to retire and I can't say that it's wrong.

"A captain can only by judged by his success record and that's not good in his case. Now we have to take drastic steps to carry West Indies cricket forward."

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