India in England 2014 June 30, 2014

Dravid's presence will benefit team 'enormously' - Laxman


'Dravid's experience in English conditions will help' - Laxman

Former India batsman VVS Laxman has said that Rahul Dravid's appointment as a mentor to the India team, ahead of the series against England, is an "excellent and positive move". Speaking to ESPNcricinfo, Laxman said Dravid's presence will benefit the team "enormously", not just due to the "technical aspect but also the mental aspect, the planning of an innings which is so important to perform in English conditions."

Laxman, who was part of India's squad for the dismal tour of England in 2011, when they were whitewashed 0-4, said India's young batsmen would do well to learn from Dravid's success in that series. Dravid scored 461 runs in four Tests in 2011, including three hundreds. Six of his 36 Test centuries came in England, where he scored 1376 runs in 13 games at an average of 68.80.

"What was really impressive about Rahul's performance was that he, in a couple of Test matches, actually opened the batting and we all know how tough it is with the swinging ball, especially when it's new," Laxman said. "The bowling line-up hasn't changed much. I am sure Rahul's experience facing these bowlers will come in handy in his discussions with the batsmen - not only the strength and weakness of these bowlers, but also their mental approach to a particular batsman."

Laxman advised India's batsmen to spend some time picking Dravid's mind on how to approach an innings in English conditions.

"The reason why Rahul has been successful in English conditions is because of his mental discipline," Laxman said. "In England, we all know that even if you are settled and playing well, because of a sudden change in weather conditions you have to almost restart your innings, which is different to the sub-continent or places like Australia."

According to the BCCI, Dravid's stint with the team will be for the "preparatory stages of the tour". Once the series begins, Dravid will move into the commentary box which, according to Laxman, will be a blessing in disguise for the players.

"I remember when I was playing for India, I would bump into Sunil Gavaskar, who was a master of technique, to discuss various issues I was facing," he said. "So even though Rahul may not be there with the team, he will be at the ground and the players can always approach him."

A few voices in Indian cricket, including Sunil Gavaskar, have called for Dravid to take over as India coach but the former India captain has been reluctant citing family reasons. Laxman said Dravid's decision was understandable, after having been on the road for 16 years, but hoped Indian cricket could tap into his knowledge base.

"Everyone knows how good he is and how mature he is in communication with the youngsters", Laxman said. "I am sure his experience and his exposure to various conditions in world cricket will help the youngsters in improving their game and doing well for India."

Laxman also expressed his willingness to perform a similar role if given the chance.

"We benefited from the experiences our seniors shared with us. Ultimately all of us want Indian cricket to really blossom," he said. "This current Indian team is an exciting group of cricketers, very skillful, I was very impressed with how they played in South Africa and New Zealand, so I am sure they will do well in future series as well. If I am required to help them, I will be more than happy to."

Gaurav Kalra is a senior editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Ashok on July 2, 2014, 0:39 GMT

    I only hope Dravid helps Dhoni in the selection of rational & Balanced XI with right players. This is one area where Dhoni 's captaincy has been very poor. He cannot be serious when he keeps including Ishant Sharma in XI when he is consistently bowling No-balls- one/over! His length & line are erratic. The Selectors have given him 6 pace bowlers to choose from but he keeps going back to Ishant! Aaron at 150 KPH along with Pankaj & Pandey need to get in the XI to support Kumar & Shami. SL have scored heavily against the England bowling & bowled well against them. Main reason was their determination to do well. If Dravid can instil the same discipline, determination & will to succeed in the Indian team, He would have done a great job. So far Indian bowling against Leicester & Derbyshire has been shockingly poor & disappointing. The same quality of bowling will easily enable England to get 600+ Totals in every test. Vast improvement is badly needed to put up a competitive performance!

  • Dummy4 on July 1, 2014, 11:07 GMT

    @LAKingsfan: Even Gary Kirsten and John Wright are soft spoken people. But see their results, especially the former. Also see what Greg Chapel did

  • Dummy4 on July 1, 2014, 3:18 GMT

    I think laxman will be hired as a batting consultant for the tour of Australia, given his excellent record in the country.

  • Rizwan on June 30, 2014, 18:38 GMT

    Of course its natural for India wanting to improve their batting department, they already got a good base for it. I for once think these new batsmen are really talented & exciting. Whereas, bowling never had much to begin with. Test matches are won by bowlers, true. But to draw one ia largely dependent on the batsmen. India is doing the right thing.

  • Suresh on June 30, 2014, 18:28 GMT

    @SwamyCricketAnanda: I don't know if Dravid will be successful as a coach. He's very soft spoken for a role of a coach. I would rather have Ganguly as coach and Dravid as just mentor.

  • Suresh on June 30, 2014, 18:27 GMT

    It's known to the entire universe that India have had a lot of great batsmen like Dravid and VVS. What India need is a mentor for bowling. If they can't find anyone locally it's not wrong to bring in someone from abroad as Lehman did with Murali. The one name that comes to my mind is, Andy Bichael. I don't know whether he's with any other team but if available I would pick him.

  • David on June 30, 2014, 17:22 GMT

    India simply have to be much more disciplined this time - to say they were resting on their laurels in 2011 would be to understate it. I remember being shocked at how out of shape some of their fast bowlers looked. I think Dravid would make an excellent coach, in the mould of Gary Kirsten or Stephen Fleming - someone with a natural empathy and understanding of the psychologies of the international game.

  • Srinivas on June 30, 2014, 16:25 GMT

    They should take in Laxman in their coaching wings. Calm mind and good cricketing brain.

  • Dummy4 on June 30, 2014, 15:41 GMT

    VVS Laxman: "The reason why Rahul has been successful in English conditions is because of his mental discipline"

    But,VVS: Mental discipline is something which can't be transplanted!

  • Dummy4 on June 30, 2014, 15:39 GMT

    Dravid & Zak should replace Duncan Fletcher and Joe Dawes ASAP. We don't want an ineffective pair. Nor do we want a 'club' of coaches/ consultants/ guides/ advisers? A crowd? No way! We don't want India's support staff look like the 'crowd' assembled by MI.

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