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West Indies batting legend Brian Lara has backed himself to play a key role for franchise Leon Lions in the inaugural Masters Champions League but does not expect the team to rely on him solely.
The former West Indies captain is one of the several legendary former players who arrived here this week for the tournament that runs from January 28 to February 13 and will also see games played in Abu Dhabi and Sharjah, reports CMC.
Lara, who quit international cricket in 2007, leads a Lions side that includes former West Indies fast bowler Fidel Edwards, South African Herschelle Gibbs and England’s Darren Gough.
“Now it is a bit of a different time, my reflexes may not be the same, but I do expect to play a part,” Lara told reporters here on Wednesday.
“I would not be here if I cannot play a part in the team’s success but we are looking for team performance more than anything else. We are a fairly good group of guys and if you can get the team working well we can win matches.”
He added: “I have played matches through most of 2015 and played in All Stars in America recently. This environment is a bit more competitive and I don’t think the dependency on myself is as great as it was 10 to 15 years ago playing for the West Indies.”
The MCL features six teams, including Virgo Super Kings, Gemini Arabians, Sagittarius Soldiers, Capricorn Commanders and Libra Legends.
Each team will play five matches in a round-robin preliminary round with the top four teams qualifying for the semi-finals.
Lara, who quit international cricket before the onset of the T20 format, said for him the shortest form of the game was the most difficult.
“For me, Twenty20 is more challenging because in a Test, as a batsman, I was going out there and taking my time and getting set and then exploding, whichever way you want to put it,” Lara explained.
“This form of the game for me is little more challenging because the game is shaped very early, you have limited time out there and you‘ve got to get things going, maybe a couple balls to get settled in and that is not the way I batted. For me, Twenty20 is more challenging than it was in Test cricket.”
Players like South Africa Jacques Kallis, Australian Adam Gilchrist, India’s Virender Sehwag and Sri Lankan Mahela Jayawardene are all contesting the tournament.