VVS Laxman believes that one tour match and some net practice is ample preparation for India’s experienced batting line-up before their crunch four-match Test series against England.
Laxman was not included in India’s XI for their solitary warm-up game against Somerset at Taunton, having played all three Tests against the West Indies, but does not expect to be caught by surprise come the first Test at Lord’s which starts on Thursday.
“We are not concerned at having only one warm-up game in England,” said the 34-year-old. “With the hectic schedule of international cricket these days, even one such match is a luxury.
“When we went to the West Indies we didn’t have a single warm-up game before the first Test so it is not a worry. I’m very happy with the way we have prepared for this tour.
“I am not playing against Somerset because I had three back-to-back matches at the end of the West Indies tour and it was thought better that I should rest, he added.
“We have an experienced batting line-up, who have played in England before, and I am sure we will have some good net practice before Lord’s so we will be ready for the First Test,” he insisted.
New coach Duncan Fletcher will provide valuable input given his knowledge of English conditions, and Laxman had high praise for the 62-year-old Zimbabwean who has made an immediate impact since taking over the reigns from Gary Kirsten in April.
“It has been brilliant working with Duncan,” said Laxman. “The time we spent with him in West Indies was very encouraging and you know from just talking to him that he has such a deep knowledge of the game.
“The Lord’s Test is going to be his 100th as a coach, which is a great achievement in itself, and he will be the first coach to achieve it.
“We are very lucky to have someone like Duncan with us because he is a very experienced and very mature person,” added the Indian middle order anchor.
“I feel I can learn from him. There is always scope for improving and having discussions with someone like Duncan can only make you a better cricketer.
“I talked with him a lot in the West Indies, especially about technique, and I found him really knowledgeable in that respect.”
While all the buzz around the series concerns the battle for the number one Test spot – presently held by India – Laxman stated that India will be focusing on one Test at a time.
“We don’t see it as being about proving ourselves the top nation,” he said. “We just want to concentrate on winning each and every Test match, rather than thinking about number games and rankings.
“It is going to be a highly challenging series for us without a doubt because England have a very good side. They have a very formidable and balanced bowling attack with some real match-winners.
“But I firmly believe that if we play to our potential we can beat any side in world cricket.
“We are looking forward to playing to our strengths and continuing the good work we have done in recent years. We will concentrate fully on our own performances and preparation and if we do that we can definitely do well here.” Cricket365