July 9, 2004
Lara a no-show at Digicel sponsorship meet

CAPTAIN Brian Lara was conspicuous by his absence as West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) president Teddy Griffith finally put pen to paper at a five-star London hotel adjacent to Lord’s Tuesday, to seal a five-year sponsorship deal with mobile telephone provider Digicel, worth over US$20 million. {{more}}
Lara, who was listed as attending in the joint press release, has a personal contract with Cable & Wireless, Digicel’s direct competitor in the Caribbean and West Indies‚ team sponsor for the past 19 years, as do seven other West Indies players.
The West Indies team was represented at the conference by manager Tony Howard, coach Gus Logie, media liaison officer Imran Khan and junior players Tino Best and Dwayne Bravo.
But Digicel’s chairman Denis O’Brien dismissed a suggestion that there was any significance to Lara’s non-appearance.
“None whatsoever,” he said. He said Lara had arranged to be at the press conference originally scheduled for noon but was put back to 4 p.m.
“This is the only day he had free (of cricket) and he had other commitments,” O’Brien said. “He’s hoping to get here in the next few minutes.”
Lara never did.
A similar clash over board and individual sponsorship caused a rift in India prior to last year’s World Cup. But Griffith was not concerned about the same situation arising now.
“I don’t see this as creating any problem,” he said.