Lara credits Cozier for Aussie series revival
PORT OF SPAIN, CMC:
Former West Indies master batsman Brian Lara, has credited the late cricket-media icon, Tony Cozier, for helping to transform the fortunes of the beleaguered regional side, following the wretched 1998-99 tour of South Africa.
West Indies were whitewashed 5-0 in the lopsided Test series with only two of the encounters going the distance, and returned home to face the mighty Australians in a four-Test rubber.
After a 312-run mauling in the first Test in Port-of-Spain, Lara said he sought out Cozier's advice as captain, and the Barbadian's advice helped in turning the series around.
"We shared a very important moment in my career, which, for me, was a turning point. It happened after returning from South Africa in 1999, after a 5-0 drubbing and a first-Test loss to Australia," Lara told the NewsDay newspaper.
"I sought out the advice of Tony as I believed him to be the one person who had the first-hand experience to comment on where we were going wrong and what we could have done to arrest the painstaking slide.
"That conversation played a pivotal role in our winning the next two Test matches and drawing the series against the then-best team in the world, Australia."
West Indies won the second Test in Kingston by 10 wickets with Lara smashing an imperious 213 and followed up with a one-wicket nail-biter in Bridgetown when Lara unveiled a majestic, match-winning, unbeaten 153 on the final day.
Cozier passed away in his native Barbados at the Bayview Hospital after being admitted just a few days earlier. He was 75.