Retiring Lara reiceves stones and flowers

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, April 20, 2007 (AFP) – Former greats on Friday paid glowing tributes to retiring batting genius Brian Lara, saying he leaves behind a great legacy. But the praise was tinged with regret over his failures as captain of a declining team.
The record-setting left-hander announced he would retire from international cricket after his team’s last World Cup match against England here on Saturday, bringing to an end a 17-year stay on the frontline which has had its fair share of ups and downs.

“I am bidding farwell to international cricket,” said Lara on Thursday, ending speculation he was about to be replaced as captain for next month’s tour of England, a trip for which he may not have even been selected as a player.

Former bowling great Wes Hall was surprised over Lara’s sudden decision despite the 37-year-old having already announced he would retire from one-day cricket after the World Cup but would continue to play Tests.

“I am lost for words, it’s unexpected,” said Hall.

“He was a great servant to West Indies cricket. His legacy is fantastic, a great batsman, 400 in a Test, 501 in first-class cricket, I mean it’s a big legacy,”