Laxman lauds Fletcher influence
VVS Laxman believes having Duncan Fletcher as coach will boost India’s chances of success in the npower Test series against England, which starts at Lord’s next Thursday.
The vastly experienced batsman says he has already benefited from working with the former England coach during the recent tour of West Indies.
Speaking during the second day of the tour match against Somerset at Taunton, from which he has been rested, Laxman talked in glowing terms about Fletcher.
“It has been brilliant working with Duncan,” he said. “The time we spent with him in the 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.
“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.”
Laxman insists that defending their ranking as the top Test-playing country in the world will be the last thing on India’s mind when they take on England.
“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.”
Laxman has yet to make a century against England - a blip in his illustrious record he intends to put right in the weeks ahead.
“Probably the position in the batting order I have had has been a factor because I’ve made a lot of fifties, but not been able to convert them into hundreds,” he said.
“My best score against England was 74 at Lord’s in 2002 and I ended up batting with the tail on that occasion.
“There is no single reason why I have not made a hundred against England, but hopefully I can do it this time around.”
The match at Taunton has already been rain-affected and the forecast was not good for the final day. But Laxman insists he and his team-mates will be well prepared for Lord’s.
“We are not concerned at having only one warm-up game in England,” he said. “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.
“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.