Laxman: ‘India definitely has a chance to win the title’

The former India batsman reckons a well-rounded performance in this year’s Champions Trophy will boost the morale of Virat Kohli’s men ahead of the ICC 50-over World Cup in 2019.

Laxman also expressed confidence of India defending the title, especially after their all-round performance in the two practice matches ahead of the Champions Trophy.   -  Bhagya Prakash K

Even as he chose not to comment on the coaching conundrum Indian cricket currently finds itself in, V.V.S.Laxman believed that the Indian team will set aside all distractions as it embarks on its defense of the Champions Trophy title.

Laxman, along with Sachin Tendulkar and Saurav Ganguly, is a member of the cricket advisory panel which appointed Anil Kumble as India coach last year and now has to go through the process again.

“You are representing a billion people, there is so much responsibility and expectations,” said Laxman at an event organised by P&G Shiksha, a project aimed at providing free and quality education for children. “I believe that all the distractions will be kept aside. This is the first time Virat Kohli is captaining in an ICC tournament. We also need to remember that the 2019 World Cup is going to be in England. If India can do well in this Champions Trophy, then they go to the World Cup with a lot of confidence. India definitely has a chance to win the title.”

'More experienced'

Laxman's confidence perhaps stems from the fact that the current team appears to be an upgrade on the outfit which won the title four years ago.

“Definitely more experienced,” Laxman said when asked to compare the two teams. “A lot of players from that side are still part of the core group. Take the example of Umesh Yadav-the way he has evolved since 2013; he has become more mature and understands his bowling a lot more. He is not only looking to bowl fast, which has always been his strength-but (he is) bowling with control.”

However, Laxman cautioned that for success in the one-day format, India's bowling in the middle overs (15 to 40) had to be up to the mark.

“In 2013, the bowlers, especially the spinners, were taking wickets in the middle overs. I am expecting the same (this time). With the new ball, you can get swing and pick up wickets. Bhuvneshwar Kumar and (Jasprit) Bhumrah are two of the best death bowlers in the world. But picking up wickets in the middle overs is very important. Once you do this, then you don't allow a partnership to blossom.”

“(Ravindra) Jadeja has evolved into a wicket-taking spinner, and Ashwin is a class bowler. So even though the conditions may not assist them, the two are skillful enough to deceive the batsmen.”

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