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Don't lose faith: Lara

Trelawny (Jamaica): Brian Lara has urged West Indies supporters not to lose faith, promising to turn things around in the World Cup after the host was embarrassed by a batting collapse which resulted in a nine-wicket loss in Friday's warm-up match against India.

West Indies will take on Pakistan in Tuesday's World Cup opener in Jamaica's capital of Kingston.

It was bundled out for 85 after India's pace bowlers pierced through the middle-order, prompting Lara to demand more commitment from his players.

"This collapse was devastating, but I'm hopeful of getting out of this low point," said Lara.

This will be Lara's fifth and last World Cup campaign after starting in 1992, when the event was jointly hosted by Australia and New Zealand.

Two-time world champion West Indies has made just one semi-final appearance during Lara's previous four World Cups. He is eager to turn the clock back to the 70s when the West Indies emerged as the champion side in 1975 and '79.

Going against history

This time the Caribbean line-up is confronted by a historical jinx — no team has won the World Cup on home soil.

Sri Lanka's title triumph came in 1996 when it was the three sub-continental teams staging World Cup matches, but the few games played in Sri Lanka were preliminary-round matches. It played the quarterfinal and final in Pakistan, and the semifinal in India.

"The West Indies fans will come out in large numbers to support us, we have to live up to their expectations," Lara said. "Everyone starts from scratch on Tuesday. — AP

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