Lara confident prior to final
Brian Lara rates Australia favourites for every match they play yet is still confident West Indies can defy those odds to retain the ICC Champions Trophy on Sunday.
West Indies have already defeated the Australians on the same Brabourne Stadium ground to be used for the day-night final.
That 10-run loss stirred Ricky Ponting’s men who have been at their impressive best in disposing of England, India and New Zealand.
But West Indies have a feelgood factor about them currently, having picked up form in Malaysia in September - when they beat Australia once and lost twice.
“Of course, they are favourites; they are the world champions and the number-one ranked team, so going into this match you would be unwise to think otherwise,” said Lara.
“They would be favourites against anybody, so if you do get to the final you have to really play well to beat them. We are confident of our ability to beat Australia.
“A captain has to be optimistic about his chances, and I am no less optimistic than Ricky.
“The fact we beat them here and the fact we have played them quite a few times in the last couple of months and are locked at 2-2 serves up a very good encounter.
“But it is a final and it’s nothing to take lightly.”
Despite being forced to qualify for the chance to defend the title they claimed in England two years ago, West Indies have been the dominant team of the tournament.
They have lost twice, in dead matches to Sri Lanka and England - Lara describing the latter performance “lacklustre”.
Nevertheless, their mercurial talent is a quality Lara believes serves them well.
“I love the tag unpredictable - which means no opposition, no matter how strong they are, thinks they can just roll us over,” said the 37-year-old.
“At the moment we have a very good momentum.”
They also have a flexibility which other teams have not been so willing to embrace.
Constant switching of the batting order, depending on game situation, is the most obvious current example of it - while Lara has also experimented with strange choices for the new ball this year.
He has come in to bat in various positions so far here and said: “We have players who are willing to drop back or come forward, and that is good for the team confidence.
“It will be about looking for the right combination. As the game goes on, we will not be afraid to change things around.”
The current Windies team were in their infancy when they shocked everyone to beat England in the 2004 Trophy.
Lara feels they are better prepared for Sunday’s dart at the Aussies than that day at The Oval.
“We came off a Test series two years ago; here we are on the back of 10 one-day internationals, which have given us a lot of momentum,” said Lara.
“This is a greater preparation and a better chance to show our true potential.
“The ultimate thing is that the boys are believing in themselves. We have grown as a team.”