‘We have to stay aggressive’, warns Lara

(CMC) – Batting icon and former Test captain, Brian Lara, has urged the West Indies to be “technical and tactical” in order to mitigate the threat of England’s batting juggernaut in the three-Test series starting next week at Lord’s.

Warning of the dangers posed by England’s aggressive approach with the bat, 55-year-old Lara said it was important for the West Indies to stay “aggressive” in the field and not fall into the trap of going on the defensive too early.

“I think more important is how the bowlers and the captain handle it in the field because we have to stay positive,” Lara told Sky Sports.

“We have to stay aggressive in terms of having attacking fields, having players in attacking positions, because the way they (England) bat, England are going to have you pushing players out on the boundary, which is what they want.

“You push your deep cover back or your third man back, your deep backward square back, it creates opportunities for them to get singles – four, five singles an over is actually great scoring.

“We’ve got to be very technical and tactical in terms of how we approach this series.”

Under head coach Brendon McCullum and Test captain Ben Stokes, England have undergone a revolution in the longest format with the adoption of an aggressive brand of cricket that pundits have labelled ‘Bazball’.

It has seen England play an attractive brand of aggressive cricket, especially when batting, which has put opposition bowlers under relentless pressure.

In contrast, the West Indies have adopted a more attritional approach in an attempt to grind out results, but Lara suggested this might be counterproductive.

“I don’t think first of all, as a batting team, that (aggression) is our style, which actually is a little bit of a negative,” he said.

“If you’re going to come up against a side that’s scoring at five and six runs an over and you’re just going to score at 2.5, three runs an over, that in itself is asking for trouble.”

He added: “England is playing a style of cricket that is difficult to beat them, coming from behind. We’ve got to get them out cheaply in the first innings to stay in front of the game.

“If you get behind England – with the pace they play the game at – it’s impossible to get back into the game.”

The West Indies have already suffered one blow to their squad ahead of the series, with veteran seamer Kemar Roach ruled out with a knee injury.

It means the Caribbean side has been left with a relatively inexperienced attack, with only seamers Jason Holder and Alzarri Joseph having played more than 10 Tests.

However, Lara, who gathered 11,953 runs from 131 Tests, said his concern more surrounded the inexperienced batting lineup.

“I’m not worried too much about Kemar Roach missing out or the bowling attack. I think the bowling attack is pretty formidable,” he said.

“I think the batting is where the experience is lacking. And they’re trying – the batters are trying – but it’s the fact that, how much experience have they had in English conditions?

“So I’m hoping we can pull through in that department.” The first Test bowls off next Wednesday.

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