India in England 2011

Laxman confident despite limited preparation time

Andrew McGlashan at Taunton

July 16, 2011

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VVS Laxman celebrates getting to a half-century, West Indies v India, 3rd Test, Dominica, 3rd day, July 8, 2011
VVS Laxman does not think an England tour is the toughest © Associated Press
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VVS Laxman is unconcerned about India's limited preparation time in England before the first Test and has backed the team to continue their much-improved overseas performance of the past 10 years. The visitors have struggled in their only warm-up match against Somerset with the bowling far from impressive and the batsmen struggling, but Laxman insists international players know how to adjust.

Sachin Tendulkar, Gautam Gambhir and Zaheer Khan - all certain starters at Lord's - are playing their first first-class match in almost seven months. Zaheer ended wicketless in the first innings, Gambhir fell for 21 and Tendulkar went for 26. Laxman, meanwhile, is sitting out the match having played three back-to-back Tests against West Indies but his team-mates were given the runaround with Somerset piling up 425 for 3 on a flat pitch.

Rain also cut into the playing time which meant India were left with little more than one session and a day to take what they can from the game before heading to London.

On their previous two tours, however, in West Indies and South Africa, India didn't have a single practice match before the Test series. In South Africa they came a cropper in the opening Test, being hammered by an innings and 25 runs at Centurion, but in West Indies they won by 63 runs at Sabina Park and that was enough to take the series 1-0.

"Because of the hectic nature of international cricket even playing one warm-up is a luxury these days," Laxman said. "When we went to West Indies we didn't have a single match before the Tests. We are quite confident and we'll have good net sessions at Lord's.

"In international cricket with the kind of schedules everyone has you have to be ready for any sort of challenge. Saying that, we have an experienced batting line-up who have played in England before so I'm sure that will be helpful for us come Thursday."

The 1-0 series win in the Caribbean continued India's much-improved record away from home. They came back to draw 1-1 in South Africa and have also held their own in Australia. On the 2007 tour of England, they won 1-0 and five years previously shared the series, which Laxman believes played an important part in transforming their fortunes outside of India. There was more than a hint of confidence when he wouldn't single out this tour as harder than others.

"Not necessarily but it's certainly a very challenging tour," he said. "Any overseas tour is always a challenge and we are all very proud of how we have changed our record abroad. When I started we weren't very good but we've improved a lot. Our mindset has changed.

"We got confidence from the 2002 series in England and before that in West Indies where we won at Trinidad, then at Headingley. Those series, and against Australia in 2003, changed our mindset and we started believing in ourselves. It's given us a lot of pride the way we have performed overseas, both collectively and individually.

"Every country offers different challenges. If you look at the wickets in West Indies they were quite tough to bat and when you visit South Africa, New Zealand or Australia they can be tough. They are conditions that are quite alien to you which offer a challenge."

Laxman's record against England is one blot on his fantastic international record. He averages 34.35 against them without a hundred against his career figure of 47.36. He has, however, had more success against England playing away than on home soil which is something of a surprise. Laxman, though, doesn't get too hung up on those figures but is looking forward to a chance of boosting his record against an England attack he calls "formidable".

"I don't have a hundred against them but feel I've played some important knocks but not converted them," he said. "I've always enjoyed facing the England bowling; it's always formidable so I'm looking to maintaining my consistency of recent years and playing some important knocks.

"They have a very balanced attack with real match-winners," he said. "But I don't want to compare and say whether they are the best. It's going to be a highly challenging series, but we believe that if we play to our potential we can beat anyone."

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by ashrogue on (July 19, 2011, 7:47 GMT)

5 days of non stop trash talk.... no one is the best.... there are only best performances.... Comparing averages, ranks, If and in cases,..... What a tantrum!

Posted by demon_bowler on (July 18, 2011, 21:59 GMT)

Some visiting teams excel at Lord's (England only beat Australia once there in the whole of the 20th century!), but it's not been a happy hunting ground for India. They've played 15 matches there, won only once, and lost 10 times. This was the ground where Gooch scored 333 and 126 in 1990. Four years ago, they hung on by the skin of their teeth with nine wickets down before rain saved them. In 2002 they were smashed out of sight in one of England's most ruthless performances under Hussain. You have to go all the way back to 1986 when the worst ever England side in my 30 years of watching cricket lost to India at Lord's. I expect rain interruptions to help the visitors out again this time, so, as in 2007, India may escape with a draw.

Posted by Vilander on (July 18, 2011, 20:52 GMT)

Last time India toured Eng they won 1-0. last time Eng toured india, India won 1-0 again. I am not sure what this talk about Eng trashing Ind is all about..seriously. Let wait and watch, it is going to be a close series.

Posted by bigdhonifan on (July 18, 2011, 18:31 GMT)

To all english Fans saying Trott or cook is best!!!! Check average of Sachin tendulkar ... Last 3 years: 64.66... LAst 2 years: 79.95... Last one year:77.81...!!!Now Trott Last 3 years: 62.23.. Last 2 years: 62.23 Last 1 years: 74.40.... Cook. Last 3 years: 55.44 last 2 years: 59.71 Last 1 year: 77.82... SACHIN is the Best

Posted by akhi.aims on (July 18, 2011, 17:35 GMT)

Hey Truemans_Ghost, I would predict a narrow win for India and the english board blaming India's affluency in cricket.

Posted by Harshtmm on (July 18, 2011, 17:35 GMT)

Alright Laxman, we must face it. With such a poor coach you have no chance of winning. Back to the old ways or losing on foreign soil.

Posted by kumarcoolbuddy on (July 18, 2011, 17:12 GMT)

Yes I agree that its not good to involve and comment in other games which their country is not involved. I agree Indians are some of them but doesn't mean that only Indians are there. If a person is trying to boast about his own country then that might be reaction from previous actions or may be out of his patriotism but few people from Pak and Bangladesh involve in all matches India is playing and criticize India. They anyway don't have chance to boast about their country. I saw many such people commenting on India just blindly without any sense.

Posted by kumarcoolbuddy on (July 18, 2011, 16:42 GMT)

@Test_Cricket_Best_Cricket, when u compared T20 and test, that too in English weather, you yourself agreed that you just know about cricket but not the real difference between different formats. FYI...T20 style and format is completely contrasting to that of Test. So never compare in future.

Posted by BigINDFan on (July 18, 2011, 14:52 GMT)

Laxman is right - Ind team has the talent and potential and have proven it time and again recently. The Somerset match was a joke - Sreesanth, Munaf and Mishra cannot bowl out any team let alone challenge a county team that is playing at home. It was good that Somerset bullied the Ind team so that law of averages say that Ind will start the first test better than they did against SA! Let us have a cracker of a series!

Posted by demon_bowler on (July 18, 2011, 13:35 GMT)

Laxman doesn't have a brilliant record in England -- top score of 74.

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Andrew McGlashanClose
Andrew McGlashan Assistant Editor Andrew arrived at ESPNcricinfo via Manchester and Cape Town, after finding the assistant editor at a weak moment as he watched England's batting collapse in the Newlands Test. Andrew began his cricket writing as a freelance covering Lancashire during 2004 when they were relegated in the County Championship. In fact, they were top of the table when he began reporting on them but things went dramatically downhill. He likes to let people know that he is a supporter of county cricket, a fact his colleagues will testify to and bemoan in equal quantities.
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