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Laxman stands up for under-fire Dravid

VVS Laxman has firmly backed Rahul Dravid, his India team-mate and Indian Premier League rival, whose Bangalore Royal Challengers is at the centre of a simmering controversy after Vijay Mallya, the industrialist who owns the team, publicly questioned its

Ajay S Shankar
Ajay S Shankar
14-May-2008

VVS Laxman has said that Rahul Dravid has it in him to revive the Bangalore Royal Challengers' fortunes (file photo) © Getty Images
 
VVS Laxman has firmly backed Rahul Dravid, his India team-mate and Indian Premier League rival, whose Bangalore Royal Challengers is at the centre of a simmering controversy after Vijay Mallya, the industrialist who owns the team, publicly questioned its composition and performance.
"For sure, Rahul is a good captain," Laxman, who led the Deccan Chargers till a wrist injury ruled him out of the rest of this IPL season, told Cricinfo. "Even if you see the games Rahul's team have lost, some of them were very close. If they had won those, no questions would have been raised about his captaincy. I am sure he will bounce back because I know he is a very tough character. He has been in this situation before in the Indian team, and I have no doubt that he will overcome this one, too.
"Everyone has been trying their best and people have to realise that no cricketer ever plays to lose. So encouragement from the owners is very important when you are not doing well," he said.
But Laxman said that the IPL's team owners had every right to ask questions, given their investments. "The owners can ask why things are not happening. But here, I can only speak for my team and say our owners have been very supportive. They have understood that we have lost some games. It was very important for us that even during the tough periods, they came, spoke to us and encouraged us."
Laxman said that he was aware that part of the focus in the IPL's inaugural season was on how experienced players would fare in the shortest format. "People may have had some doubts. But I have enjoyed my batting, and am happy to have scored some good runs at a brisk pace," he said, before adding, "Sourav (Ganguly) is doing well for himself in the IPL, too, because he is another tough competitor."
Laxman's team, however, has had a poor run in the tournament - Deccan are just ahead of Bangalore with two wins from nine matches and five games still to go. "I can tell you that we have some great cricketers and the bonding has been amazing. But for me, one possible factor that led to this situation was that we had only one player performing in every match. We would ideally have wanted two or three guys to click and perform on the same day."
Laxman started his IPL campaign with a duck on a shocker of a pitch in Kolkata, but his batting started to click from the fourth game after he decided to move up from No.3 to open the innings with Adam Gilchrist, who is now leading the team. He got into the groove with a 26-ball 37 against the Mumbai Indians, and followed it up with a 34-ball 48 against Kings XI Punjab, and a 44-ball 52 against Bangalore.
On his own batting approach in Twenty20s, Laxman said: "What was probably new for me was to get set for batting even before I actually walked out. And what was important was to ensure that you have a very healthy strike rate because there are only 20 overs to get the maximum runs for your team."

Ajay Shankar is deputy editor of Cricinfo in Bangalore