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Brian Lara to return in 2007

On PC, PS2 and Xbox 360.

Codemasters has announced that a new instalment in the Brian Lara International Cricket series will be coming to PC, PS2 and Xbox 360 next year.

BLIC 2007 will feature licensed players, including the likes of Andrew Flintoff, Ricky Ponting, Mahendra Dhoni and Muttiah Muralitharan. And our Brian, of course.

The ICC Cricket World Cup 2007 mode will feature all the official teams, stadiums, kits and equipment from the tournament, and other modes will include an ICC Champions' Trophy event. You'll also be able to compete in One Day Games, Test Matches, 20-over run events and other exhibition matches. Plus you can play online via your PC's Internet connection or Xbox Live.

As for the gameplay - subtle edges and sweepshots will be introduced, and you'll be able to head down wicket and smash the ball over the boundary for six. The range of bowling delivery types has been enhanced, so that the way the ball swings in the air and reacts off the pitch is more realistic.

You'll be able to experiment with Shane Warne's various spinning deliveries, lob it proper fast like Steve Harrison, and even try a reverse swing. A new slip catch system has been designed to test fielders' reflexes, and you can be stumped by wicket keepers and run out at both ends.

We're promised "photo-realistic visuals", just for a change - hundreds of player likenesses are being carefully modelled, complete with animated facial expressions. Stadiums will be even more detailed, and you can expect different lighting effects depending on time of day and weather conditions.

Brian Lara International Cricket 2007 will be released to coincide with the ICC Cricket World Cup in March next year. In the meantime, why not have a look at these screenshots for the PS2 version and the next-gen version.