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West Indies legend Brian Lara has offered his former team-mates batting tips ahead of the third Test against England at Old Trafford.

Lara, 38, might have been playing his penultimate Test in Manchester had he carried through an original plan to tour England once more.

Instead, he agreed to make way for a new generation, one which struggled hopelessly in the record innings defeat at Headingley which put the tourists 1-0 down in the series last week.

Having observed that double capitulation Lara has been in touch with advice ahead of Thursday's encounter.

"Just last night I was on the phone with Brian," said all-rounder Dwayne Bravo, who like Lara hails from Santa Cruz in Trinidad. "He called me, having arrived in London.
"He's followed the cricket and is aware of everything that is going on. He still has a big interest in the team's performance.

"At Lord's he was in the dressing room among the guys and it is very nice to know that even after he called it a day he still has enough time to come and make himself available to the younger players.

"Brian has a special place in the heart of West Indian cricket and has a lot to offer still.

"Anything going wrong with our batters, whether it be Chris Gayle or Devon Smith, if he can't get hold of them, he will pass it on to me.

"He told me to keep my head up and to pass on some information, as far as batting was concerned, into the dressing room."

The West Indies were badly exposed in Leeds in temperatures more reminiscent of early March than late May, not helped by the loss of Ramnaresh Sarwan, Lara's successor as captain, due to injury and the absence of Shivnarine Chanderpaul.

Conditions appear to be more seasonal this week in Manchester, where Bravo hit 77 and claimed six wickets in the first innings in 2004.

"The weather is looking fine so far, the pitch looks hard and that is our kind of cricket, where the ball is coming on to the bat and there is bounce for the fast bowlers," he said.

Spin traditionally plays a significant part in matches at Old Trafford so the West Indies will check on Chris Gayle's ability to bowl tomorrow.

Gayle, who incurred a minor muscle tear in his side last week, is fit to play as a batsman but perhaps not in an all-rounder capacity, which would allow fellow off-spinner Marlon Samuels a swift route into the team, having been called up as Sarwan's replacement only days ago.

Of Gayle, coach David Moore said: "We want him to be able to bowl in the nets for us tomorrow of he is going to do it in the match.

"If he can't bowl then we will obviously have to make some adjustments.

"We certainly want to try to get the balance of the side right and it looks to me like it might turn out there at some stage.

"We would like to have some sort of spinning option, that's for sure.

"He's the only one who has got Test credentials with regards to his spin bowling."

The batting will definitely be strengthened by the return of Chanderpaul, who has recovered sufficiently from tendinitis in the right knee.

"Any time we play without Shiv he's a massive loss for us because he is such a talented cricketer and the only one of our batters who averages over 40 in Test match cricket," said Moore. "He is someone we really depend upon to give us some stability in the middle and bottom order - he bats very well with the tail.

"He is one man who never gives away his wicket, if he gets out the bowler has obviously got him out and has had to work pretty hard to do it."

Daren Ganga leads his country for the first time, having effectively been in charge for all but the first two sessions of the second Test defeat due to Sarwan's unfortunate shoulder damage.

"It will be a very big honour for him," added Moore. "I've got a great deal of faith in him as a captain, he's a student of the game and someone very committed to playing for the West Indies."
Who better to receive tips from than the 501 not out legend. Its good to see he is still involved in the team, i think one day he might become a coach.
 

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I really don't think Lara should be head coach in the future. He should definitely be batting coach in the next few years, but I just don't have confidence in him filling in the role of head coach. It's good for the younger guys that he's there at the present time giving advice and such.
 
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