Hyderabad, Oct 14: Its recent results have been mixed at best but the Indian cricket team will be among the strongest contenders when the country hosts next year's World Twenty20 Championships, feels West Indian batting legend Brian Lara.
India are currently engaged in a home series against South Africa and have lost the three-match T20 series. "I think the Indian team playing at home is very dangerous team. And they proved that during (by winning) the World Cup in 2011 in India under (Mahendra Singh) Dhoni. They have got very exciting players and versatile," Lara told reporters on the sidelines of an event here.
"I expect them to be favourites in the tournament (Twenty20 World Cup). I know home pressure is always there. I think the guys have grown a lot and I believe they have got a very good chance in the World Cup," he said.
On to the West Indies and Lara was asked if he has ever given a thought to playing the mentor's role for the current side.
"If I was to get involved mentoring or coaching the West Indies team I don't think there is going to be any big difference. I think our problem is very deep-rooted. Our infrastructure is pretty average and administratively we are not doing a good job. I don't believe any one person can create any magic at the top level and see different performances," he said.
"I still believe that West Indies players are some of the most talented players in the world and especially the teenagers coming in. What we tend to do in West Indies is that we take very good talent and make it into mediocre talent. You need a good administrative board to work in harmony with you," Lara added.
"I would love to make a difference but I feel it has got to be from ground up. Hopefully sometimes in the near future we will be able to do that."
Reacting to a query on whether he retired too early in his career, Lara said, "I may have a couple of records but I really didn't go there to bat for records. Scoring 12,000 runs was not important...I felt it was the right time to leave. I still believe that I enjoyed playing with the teams I played with."
Lara said he enjoys being in India. "Even during my cricket days, India is a place where I really loved coming to. I love the Indian people for the passion they carry through their life every single day. Some of my very special friends Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman, Rahul Dravid, M S Dhoni and Virat Kohli...these are wonderful examples of Indians with great passion."