GEORGETOWN, Guyana, (Reuters):
WEST INDIES skipper Brian Lara apologised yesterday for his part in a spat with selector Andy Roberts but called for an end to the public backbiting that he felt was "not healthy for cricket".
On the eve of West Indies' crucial Super Eights clash with Sri Lanka in Guyana today, Lara clarified his position on the war of words between himself and the former fast bowler.
Roberts had criticised the decision to omit paceman Jerome Taylor for Thursday's New Zealand match and instead play batsman Lendl Simmons and bat him at eight.
"I was caught by surprise in a press conference and I was very, very surprised and shocked that things like that need to be spoken about in public," Lara said yesterday.
"On my behalf for reacting in public is something I need to apologise for.
"But if we really want to do well we have got to have constructive criticism in-house where people come out and air their views.
"If things like that are going to be out every single time you have a bad performance it's not going to be healthy for our cricket at all."
Roberts had told reporters: "I can't find the words to describe it. If you play an extra batsman at No. 8, he has to be able to bowl. All I can say is that Simmons must have changed roles since I last saw him."
Lara hit back in a news conference, snapping "all I can tell Andy Roberts is that I did not select the World Cup squad, I just go out and try my best with the players given to me".
The captain has a say in picking the side to go on to the field but the three-man selection panel chose the original squad.
Meantime, world record-breaker Lara said his batting position was "up for discussion" as pundits had called for him to be promoted to number three to take a commanding role early in the innings.
"If you don't see anything different when we go out there for the match it means that the belief is still there in what's going on.
"If there's something different it's because that's what the guys want to do."